Mantler so far to plead not guilty to one charge

The Kelowna Mountie who was dragged into the national spotlight for alleged police brutality intends to fight at least one of the assault charges brought against him.

Defence attorney Neville McDougall appeared in court Tuesday afternoon to enter a plea of not guilty relating to Const. Geoff Mantler’s alleged Aug. 30, 2010, assault of Manjeet Singh Bhatti.

It should officially be entered into record during an arraignment hearing scheduled for July 12.

What Mantler will plead that same day for the assault charge related to allegedly kicking Buddy Tavares in the head while he was submitting to arrest last January, however, remains to be seen.

McDougall, said he’s yet to wade through the 2,000 page disclosure, let alone the audio and video transcript associated with the file. “The Tavares disclosure is extensive,” he told the court.

Should that material lead to Mantler pleading not guilty, a trial would be triggered and McDougall said that it’s bound to be a “multi-day” affair.

It’s also bound to be the subject of intense interest.

Mantler’s case captured the attention of the nation after video footage showed the police officer kicking a prone Tavares in the head during a roadside arrest.

A charge against Tavares was eventually dropped, but Mantler continued to get more deeply entrenched in the legal system as more complaints of misconduct came to the fore.

Only two complaints amounted to legal action but the officer, who has been with the RCMP three years, was suspended from duty shortly after footage was released. He was subject to an internal investigation and eventually had his wage suspended.


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