The Kelowna cop facing an assault charge for kicking a prone man in the head during an arrest will face a three-week trial, the court learned Thursday.
Crown counsel William Burrows said he expects to spend at least eight days interviewing 45 witnesses in the case against Const. Geoff Mantler, although that number could dwindle as witness interviews proceed.
He’ll also be offering up the now infamous video footage of the kick to Buddy Tavares’s head.
Mantler’s lawyer, Neville McDougall, said he expected to use no more than four days of the court’s time to present a defence. He has six witnesses and 911 transcripts to run through, and they should be able to speak to the mindset of police as they pursued Tavares on a weapons complaint.
What RCMP Const. Geoff Mantler knew and believed before he kicked Buddy Tavares in the head will be the keystone of his defence when his case goes to trial next year, and McDougall pointed out that police were responding to more than a complaint about birds being shot at the golf course. Charges against Tavares, relating to firing a rifle on the golf course, were later dropped.
Both lawyers pointed out that this has been a notorious case, which Crown said prompted cause for the lengthy trial period.
Const. Geoff Mantler was caught on video kicking 51-year-old Buddy Tavares in the face Jan. 7.
Video of Tavares’ arrest shows him kneeling on the street when Mantler allegedly kicks him. When an officer rolls him over, his face is covered in blood and there appears to be a pool of blood where he was lying.
The video created an outcry that played out in protests and social media campaigns. Mantler has since been suspended without pay. He faces another unrelated charge of assault.
A date for the trial has yet to be set. Both lawyers noted finding a three-week block of court time may present a challenge.