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Cop testifying in murder case “shocked” by ferocity of defence lawyer

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Oak Bay police Sgt. Mike Martin came under intense cross-examination Friday by defence lawyer Kevin McCullough, who Martin criticized for his approach during pre-trial hearings.

Andrew Berry in B.C. Supreme Court in Vancouver. Felicity Don / CANADIAN PRESS

A police officer testifying at the trial of a father accused of murdering his two daughters said Friday that he was “shocked” at the ferocity of a defence lawyer in the case.

The comment of Oak Bay police Sgt. Mike Martin came during his cross-examination at the jury trial of Andrew Berry, 45, who has pleaded not guilty to the second-degree murders of Chloe Berry, 6, and Aubrey Berry, 4.

Martin was the second officer to arrive at Berry’s apartment on Dec. 25, 2017 and discovered the bodies of the two girls, both of whom had been stabbed repeatedly. Berry himself was found naked and injured in his bathtub with what the Crown alleges were self-inflicted wounds.

On Friday, the officer stood up well under intense cross-examination by defence lawyer Kevin McCullough.

At one point, McCullough questioned Martin about a media interview given by Oak Bay Deputy Chief Ray Bernoties on the night of the murders which was to the effect that the public had nothing to worry about despite the grisly discovery of the girls.

The defence theory is that police engaged in “tunnel vision” and targeted Berry as a suspect from the beginning to the exclusion of any other potential suspects.

Martin told the jury Friday that he was “shocked and surprised” when McCullough presented a video clip of the Bernoties interview during a pre-trial hearing, which occurred in the absence of the jury, several months ago.

Pressed by McCullough as to why he was shocked and surprised, Martin replied that he had had no knowledge of the interview until McCullough had showed it to him.

“You were quite aggressive in the presentation, and I was taken aback with how aggressive and angry you were in presenting it to me,” Martin said Friday.

“The surprise was that I didn’t know about it. The shock was the ferocity you presented it to me and told me to go home and do homework on it. I found that quite shocking that you asked me to go home and search through the internet and see this media release and I was taken aback and shocked by it.”

“That’s what you found shocking and surprising,” said McCullough. “Is that what you’re referring to?”

“Sir, and I’m going to get back to answering your question,” said Martin.

“Hopefully you’ll do that,” said McCullough.

Martin said he himself was a “fair-sized” man and a policeman and was “taught to treat people with respect” and was shocked at the tone that McCullough had used during the pre-trial hearing.

“The tone that you came at me with that day, in the anger, and I felt belittled when I was told to go home and do homework, is not something that I see all the time from respectful people.”

Asked by McCullough whether he was surprised at the content of the media interview, Martin declined to say how he felt about it.

“I’m not going to speculate to the court about the content. You’d have to ask Deputy Chief Bernoties for the content.”

Martin is expected to continue his cross-examination Monday. The trial is set to run for up to four months.

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