Anger

UPDATED: Sentencing hearing underway for Kelowna police officer

Const. Geoff Mantler was caught on video kicking Buddy Tavares in the head.

  • Apr. 30, 2013 8:00 p.m.

UPDATE: Judge Greg Koturbash handed down a suspended sentence and 18 months probation for Mantler.

***

The Crown is seeking a suspended sentence and 18 months probation for the police officer caught on video kicking Buddy Tavares in the head.

Const. Geoff Mantler’s lawyer, meanwhile, appears to be seeking a discharge as sentencing arguments are made Tuesday before Judge Greg Koturbash. That would mean Mantler would not have a criminal conviction, despite admitting to the assault causing bodily harm offence.

Mantler kicked Tavares on Jan. 7, 2011, while arresting him in relation to shots being fired at the Harvest Golf Club.

“Mr. Tavares was a completely innocent individual here,” said Crown counsel Will Burrows. “Mr. Tavares had not the foggiest idea why he was being stopped.”

Mantler “ignored or forgot most of his training” that morning, said Burrows, and the kick to the brain-injured man was “shocking and unnecessary.”

“It was very lucky that Mr. Tavares didn’t die considering his frail condition,” said Burrows. Defence lawyer Neville McDougall noted that a “calamity of errors” led to Mantler’s mistake, with no senior officers attending the call and the 911 call taker and dispatcher not conveying to police that Tavares was shooting at geese.

If he had known that, Mantler indicated in a report prepared for court, “I would not have got up from my chair.”

“I’m not aware of a single effort by RCMP management to deal with any of the errors,” said McDougall. “It appears, at the end of the day, it all falls on Geoff Mantler.”

Mantler believed he was dealing with a “homicidal” man that day and chose to approach Tavares’ vehicle because he believed he was dealing with an ‘active shooter,’”said McDougall. “Geoff Mantler honestly believed that his life might be in danger.”

Tavares, who has been in court throughout the case, has indicated he wanted to know why Mantler kicked him.

Based on the information Mantler had at the time, “he honestly thought he was protecting him.” said McDougall.

If he had known then what he knows now, “it wouldn’t have happened.” McDougall added.

Tavares was visibly upset by the defence characterization of the case. “I’ve seen a lot of God-damned stupid in my life, this tops all of it,” he said.

Defence submissions are continuing Tuesday afternoon.

UPDATE: Geoff Mantler has resigned from the RCMP.

By Cheryl Wierda, Capital News contributor

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