Manslaughter plea over carpark shooting death
A KINGSCLIFF man has pleaded guilty to manslaughter over the shooting death of "standover man” Ace Hall outside a Tweed Heads industrial unit in June last year.
Phillip Becker, 34, had been originally charged with murder but today formally pleaded guilty to the lesser charge in Lismore Local Court following negotiations with the DPP.
Mr Becker did not appear via video link from custody but was represented by his lawyer Cameron Bell.
"There has been a charge of manslaughter laid,” Mr Bell said. "There will be a plea of guilty to that manslaughter charge and the matter can be committed to sentence to the Supreme Court.”
"At the moment we're still in the process of finalising the facts.”
Magistrate David Heilpern adjourned the matter was adjourned to December 4, for committal for sentencing in the Supreme Court.
Hall died at Tweed Heads Hospital on June 24 last year after undergoing emergency surgery for a bullet wound to his torso. He was 31.
Last month, Becker's ex- girlfriend Emma Thorley was convicted of hindering a police investigation following her assistance to Becker while he was on the run in the days following Hall's untimely death.
Thorley admitted to witnessing the shooting at a carpark on Machinery Drive, Tweed Heads South, outside an industrial unit that afternoon.
Facts heard in Lismore District Court at Thorley's sentencing revealed the shooting occurred after a dispute between the two men.
Becker had fired the gun into a car where Hall was sitting alone in the drivers' seat, moments after ordering him to get out.
The single shot travelled through the car and struck Becker in the abdomen, inflicting a fatal injury.
Police had also recorded conversations between Thorley and her mother in which she said Becker was "calm” at the time.
The court also heard that in the weeks before an associate of Becker, after losing $130,000 in a drug rip off, had bought a powerful 44 Magnum pistol which he gifted to Becker
Becker, whose relationship with Thorley was marked by regular threats and domestic violence, once threatened her with the gun.
The matter returns to Lismore Local Court on December 4.