The seven men accused of teaming up and beating to death Kelowna father Dain Phillips had their trial moved to Vancouver.
Hells Angels members Robert Thomas and Norm Cocks, in addition to five others, appeared in a high security Vancouver Law Court Monday for a first appearance on a second-degree murder charge.
Thomas and Cocks have remained in custody since their arrest last summer, while Cocks’s father and HA puppet gang member Robert, as well as Daniel and Matthew McRae, Thomas Vaughan and Anson Schell are out on bail.
Although most of the men charged with second degree murder relating to Phillips June. 12 beating are based out of Kelowna, and there’s a high level of local interest in the matter, Crown counsel thought it would be dealt with most effectively in a larger centre.
“Crown’s view was that it was a situation in which the case was more appropriately dealt with in Vancouver given the scale of the case,” Crown spokesman Neil MacKenzie.
Given the number of counsel and the number of accused in the case, MacKenzie said that the forthcoming trial would have tapped out the resources of the local courthouse.
Although most cases proceed in the location where the offence is alleged to have been committed, MacKenzie said it’s not unheard of for a trial to be moved for similar reasons.
The seven accused will be back in court Dec. 19, but their actual trial won’t likely start until January 2013. The timeline for the case to go to court will likely be a bit quicker being as Crown decided to proceed by way of direct indictment.
MacKenzie explained that means there won’t be a preliminary inquiry to decide whether there’s enough evidence to proceed.
There is a ban on publication of evidence and submissions in the case.