Geoff Mantler

UPDATED: Kelowna RCMP constable pleads guilty to assault

Geoff Mantler enters surprise guilty plea to assault charge as his lawyer was slated to start his defence case in court this afternoon.

In a surprise move, the officer caught on video kicking Buddy Tavares in the head during an arrest has pleaded guilty.

The change in plea came Wednesday afternoon, after a Kelowna courtroom had filled to hear the defence begin to call its case in the Const. Geoff Mantler trial.

Instead, defence lawyer Neville McDougall asked for Mantler’s plea of not guilty to be “expunged” and a plea of guilty entered to the charge of assault causing bodily harm.

The charge stems from a Jan. 7, 2011 arrest where Mantler kicked Tavares in the head after ordering him out of his truck while investigating a shots fired complaint. The court heard that Tavares was complying with Mantler’s commands and was on all fours when the blow was delivered to his head. (Police were later told by Tavares that he had been firing shots to scare off geese at a local golf course).

For Tavares, 53, the guilty plea means he won’t hear from Mantler why the officer decided to kick him that day.

“I’ve been waiting a long time to hear why he did that. I’m not going to hear that,” said Tavares. “That’s why I’ve been hanging around.”

And while the guilty plea was surprising, Tavares didn’t see how the case could have ended without Mantler, now 29, being held responsible for the kick.

“How do you explain that? You can’t.”

“You tread water as long as you can, but then you eventually drown,” he said. “I think he was at the point he was drowning.”

What frustratesTavares more is Mantler’s potential sentence.

The Crown has indicated to the Tavares family that they will be seeking upwards of 18 months house arrest, said Tavares’ sister Pam Weiher.

The courts, said Tavares, have an opportunity to “make an example here.”

He says “nothing” ever happens to police found guilty of misconduct and hopes the judge will send a message with his sentence.

“Let’s see if he takes the opportunity or if he says, “Go home and watch TV again.'”

Tavares also said it is “staggering” how much taxpayer money was spent on the case, which was in its eighth day of trial when the guilty plea came.

Sentencing will happen at a later date, and when it happens, Tavares said he will not be there.

“I’ve had it with Mantler, I’ve had it with everything. I’m leaving,” said Tavares, who heads to Mexico Thursday.

His sister, Wieher, said Mantler finally did the “right thing” with his guilty plea and said she’d like to see Mantler resign from the RCMP. He’s currently suspended without pay.

A civil suit is pending, she added.

Mantler had no comment as he left court.



Embattled Kelowna RCMP Const. Geoff Mantler has pleaded guilty to assault causing bodily harm related to his controversial arrest of Kelowna resident Buddy Tavares.

Mantler’s lawyer Neville McDougall entered the change of plea this afternoon in what was scheduled to be the start of his defence case on behalf of his client.

Mantler had been accused of kicking Tavares when he arrested him on Jan. 7, 2011. The incident was captured on video by a local journalist and several eye witnesses had already testified to what they heard and saw in the Crown’s case against Mantler.

The judge presiding over the case has delayed sentencing to a later date.

Watch our website for more on this story from Capital News reporter Cheryl Wierda this afternoon.

Just Posted

Okanagan can learn from Washington’s wine industry growth

Winery owner cites importance of industry collaboration

Okanagan wineries shine in global chardonnay competition

Recognition for Kalala and Liquidity wineries at 2018 Chardonnay du Monde competition

Kelowna’s South Perimeter Road project to go ahead

Project to extend Gordon Drive doesn’t get enough signatures to keep it from moving ahead

Fleeing driver leaves behind severely damaged car

West Kelowna crash occurred at Highway 97 South junction

Dozens of impaired Kelowna drivers ticketed on St. Patrick’s Day

Kelowna RCMP stopped many vehicles for impaired driving during a one day blitz

Kelowna boy donates hair to charity

An eight-year-old kicks off spring break with a buzz cut for charity

Attempted gun smuggler across the Osoyoos border sentenced

Alex Louie, who prefers the name Senk’lip, was sentenced to the mandatory minimum

Pro-Trump protest sign with F-word is OK, court rules

Judges say Ontario man can protest publicly, even using vulgar language

VIDEO: Police officer looking for distracted drivers gets hit by truck

Road safety investigator clipped by trailer while patrolling busy intersection

YVR wants you to help name three new puppies

Say hello to the Vancouver Airport’s new assistance pups

Search and rescue help injured sledders off Owlhead

Volunteer searchers also locate two hikers near Little Shuswap Lake

Suspect who attacked autistic man in Ontario could be from B.C.’s south coast: police

29-year-old man was sent to hospital with serious injuries

Privacy watchdog to explore Facebook leak

Canadian expert says his analytics company helped Trump campaign capitalize on private Facebook info

How to keep local news visible in your Facebook feed

Facebook has changed the news feed to emphasize personal connections. You might see less news.

Most Read