A B.C. Lottery investigator testified Friday that more than $20,000 was deposited into Andrew Berry’s online gambling account in the year before his two daughter’s were murdered.
An Oak Bay man accused of murdering his two daughters had deposited more than $20,000 into his online gambling account in the year before the slayings, his trial was told Friday.
Details of the gambling activities of Andrew Berry, who has pleaded not guilty to the Dec. 25, 2017, second-degree murder of Chloe Berry, 6, and Aubrey Berry, 4, were outlined during the testimony of Brandon Norgaard, an investigation specialist with the B.C. Lottery Corporation.
Norgaard told the B.C. Supreme Court jury that on Jan. 11, 2018, he had received a phone call from a member of the police Vancouver Island major crime unit seeking Berry’s records.
Records of Berry’s BCLC PlayNow account indicated that as of Oct. 31, 2017, there was no money in the account, Norgaard said.
Under questioning from Crown counsel Patrick Weir, Norgaard confirmed that more than $20,000 had been deposited into the account from December 2016 to October 2017.
The deposits, which came from an online banking account, ranged from small amounts up to $2,000. They amounted to about $3,000 in total in the first four months of that time period and then increased substantially over the remaining time.
Norgaard agreed with Weir’s suggestion that the fact that there was no money left in the account after October 2017 meant that the money had been bet on something in the PlayNow account, which had Berry’s email address as being andrewtootricky@gmailcom.
PlayNow offers a variety of gambling including online casino games and sports wagers on all of the major sports including football, hockey, baseball and golf.
In cross-examination, defence lawyer Kevin McCullough asked Norgaard whether he could tell when the online gambling account had been started.
Norgaard replied that he couldn’t be sure but added that it had been in use since at least July 2010.
When McCullough asked whether it would be fair to say that there were a number of “substantial” withdrawals from the gambling account in the period before December 2016, Weir objected to the question.
The jury was asked to leave the courtroom temporarily.
Details of what took place in the absence of the jury cannot be reported under a publication ban but after the jury was asked to return, B.C. Supreme Court Justice Miriam Gropper told them that they should disregard the question. The judge said the only relevant time regarding the account was the year before the murders.
The Crown’s theory is that before the murders, Berry was under financial strains and in addition to his gambling, he was regularly behind in his rent, B.C. Hydro had cut off the power in his apartment and his credit card and line of credit were maxed out.
Also on Friday, a copy of video surveillance of Berry and the two girls at the Oak Bay Recreation Centre and a local grocery store on Christmas Eve 2017 was released to Postmedia.
Police were called to Berry’s apartment when his estranged wife, Sarah Cotton, reported that the children had not been returned to her. Police found the girls fatally stabbed in the apartment. Berry was injured and taken to hospital with what the Crown claims were self-inflicted stab wounds.
Cotton, a key Crown witness, is expected to begin her testimony on Monday.