Kelowna Hells Angels manslaughter plea first in BC

Norman Robert Cocks, left, pleaded guilty to manslaughter in the beating death of Dain Phillips in Kelowna, June 2011. His father, Robert Charles Cocks, is currently standing trial in Vancouver. /Global Okanagan

KELOWNA, BC – As a trial over a Kelowna murder is set to commence Monday at BC Supreme Court in Vancouver, two of the accused have entered guilty pleas.

Robert Leonard Thomas, 48, and Norman Robert Cocks, 33, have become the first full patch members of the Hells Angels in BC to be convicted of manslaughter, according to Crown Counsel lawyer Joe Bellows.

Robert Leonard Thomas, a full patch member of the Kelowna Hells Angels, has pleaded guilty to manslaughter in the death of Dain Phillips. /Global Okanagan

They were involved in an unprovoked and vicious beating that lead to the death of Kelowna father Dain Phillips in June 2011, but how Thomas and Cocks were involved has yet to be discussed in court.

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The details of their involvement and their sentencing hearing will take place Wednesday morning at BC Supreme Court in Vancouver. The two remain in custody where they have been since being charged in 2011.

A trial will begin Monday for the other four accused in Phillips beating.

The 51-year-old Kelowna man was beaten to death, reportedly by baseball bats and hammers, while trying to peacefully settle the difference between his two adult sons and two of their acquaintances from their high school days at Rutland Senior Secondary.

Matthew Thomas McRae and Daniel Joseph McRae are charged in connection to Phillips death, as are Robert Charles Cocks and Anson Lloyd Schell. All have been out on bail since being charged.

Crown Counsel applied to move the trial to Vancouver believing Kelowna’s courthouse could not handle a judicial event of this magnitude, according to Bellows.

The trial is expected to last three months and will be under normal court house security, now that the two full patch Hells Angels have pleaded guilty, Bellows told Global Okanagan News.

Manslaughter carries a maximum sentence of life in prison.

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