Criminal defence lawyer Kevin McCullough representing Andrew Berry spoke outside the courthouse after the hearing.

Counsel stresses presumption of innocence in Oak Bay murder case

Lawyer Kevin McCullough represents Andrew Berry in Christmas double-homicide case

Andrew Berry, the Oak Bay father charged with two counts of second-degree murder in the deaths of his two daughters found dead in his apartment on Christmas Day, made his second court appearance this morning.

Berry appeared in the courtroom by video, hair cut short and sitting very still.

While a publication ban was in effect for today’s hearing, Berry’s criminal defence lawyer, Kevin McCullough, spoke outside the courthouse after the hearing.

“It’s not fair to argue a case in the media. I hope that the presumption of innocence is here,” said McCullough. “It is so important for the protection of our democracy, that presumption of innocence be alive and well.”

RELATED: Oak Bay gathers to honour sisters

McCullough would make no comment on a bail hearing, however he did clarify the process.

“The accused is entitled to bring a bail application at any time. The burden, in part, is on the accused to establish that he can be released,” said McCullough. “Usually, murder bail hearings don’t happen as instantaneously as bail hearings in provincial court on regular criminal offences.”

Andrew Berry is having a difficult time in custody, according to his counsel. When asked about Berry’s mental state, McCullough said the Crown has made no request at this point for a psychiatric evaluation. It is the Crown that typically makes the court-ordered request.

“For a person who has never been in custody before, it is always very difficult. I can tell you that in part, that’s why I’m looking for a speedy trial. That’s why I want to get this trial set,” said McCullough.

While he voiced concerns about the impact of police and media communications on bias in the community, McCullough expressed his hope that Victoria citizens can uphold the presumption of innocence.

“There are factors that impact the location of a trial and one of them is if there is a perception of bias in the community. We’re establishing the perception of bias,” said McCullough. “The citizens of Victoria are smart people and I hope are able to apply the presumption of innocence. There’s no reason to think that they can’t.”

Next court date is set for Feb.22 where preliminary trial dates are expected to be set.

RELATED: A thousand come out to honour Chloe and Aubrey Berry at public funeral

On Christmas Day, Chloe and Aubrey were in the care of their father at his apartment on the corner of Beach Drive and Goodwin Street in Oak Bay, B.C.. The children were supposed to go home to their mother’s house on Christmas afternoon but didn’t arrive. Their mother Sarah Cotton contacted the Oak Bay police who responded to Berry’s apartment and found the bodies of the two girls.

RELATED: Scholarship set up to honour the lives of Chloe and Aubrey Berry

Andrew Berry was found in the apartment with them, suffering from injuries, and was taken to the hospital. Berry was arrested and charged upon release from the hospital.


 

keri.coles@oakbaynews.com

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