Defence argues case against Oak Bay father charged with killing daughters is flawed
News staff, CTV Vancouver Island
Published Tuesday, September 17, 2019 9:28AM PDT
Last Updated Wednesday, September 18, 2019 9:53AM PDT
The final submissions began Tuesday in the trial of Andrew Berry, the Oak Bay father accused of murdering his two young daughters on Christmas Day 2017.
Berry's defence counsel began by setting out its case that the Crown's case against Berry has five significant flaws in it.
Those problems, which defence counsel Kevin McCullough intends to explore in detail, have to do with forensic evidence, claims about Berry's financial situation, the motive for the crime, the girls' time of death, and the timing of a note allegedly writted by Berry, McCullough said.
McCullough said the Crown's case hinges on proving beyond a reasonable doubt that Berry is a liar.
The Crown will make its own submissions to the court when the defence is finished.
Berry has pleaded not guilty to two counts of second-degree murder in the deaths of four-year-old Aubrey and six-year-old Chloe, whose bodies were found in their beds in Berry's Beach Drive apartment.
Once final submissions are complete, BC Supreme Court Justice Miriam Gropper will task the jury with deciding if Berry is guilty or not before the jury is sequestered.
Berry was found in his bathtub with stab wounds to his throat and chest and told the jury earlier that he was attacked by a man with dark skin and hair, but the Crown has suggested his wounds were self-inflicted.
McCullough said the Crown's case was circumstantial and there was no evidence to show that Berry stabbed himself.
He also told the jury the blood spatter expert was “in over her head” on a job she was doing for the first time.
McCullough told the jury there was no "smoking gun" of forensic evidence in the case. He also emphasized that there was an absence of expert opinion evidence that Berry's wounds were self-inflicted, adding, "If he didn't cause those injuries, then he didn't kill those kids, or at least there's reasonable doubt about that."
Defence counsel also told the jury that although the Crown's theory involved the girls being killed around 8:00 a.m. on Christmas Day, 2017, it had failed to prove the girls' time of death, something McCullough called a critical part of the case.
Defence counsel will continue its closing submissions Wednesday. When that's complete, the Crown will begin its closing submissions.
Justice Gropper is expected to give her charge to the jury likely by the end of the week.