It’s not surprising that Provincial Court Judge Mark Takahashi has reserved his decision in RCMP Constable Geoff Mantler's police brutality trial in Kelowna, BC. Judge Takahashi has two conflicting stories to reconcile, as well as figure out who to believe.
The victim in this case, Manjit Singh Bhatti, is an admitted crack cocaine addict with a history of substance abuse. He’s been on methadone since October of 2011. Just because he’s a crack addict doesn’t mean he’s not telling the truth about being assaulted by Geoff Mantler, however, but that’s for the judge to decide now.
The RCMP sent three hitters to the plate to bat for Constable Geoff Mantler, who decided in the end his best chances for acquittal would be if he did not take the stand in his own defence.
Instead, Mantler’s partner at the time, Constable Rick Goodwin, explained what he remembered about the night he arrested Manjit Singh Bhatti. He was followed by Corporal Jason Arnold, who was the supervisor of downtown enforcement at the time of Bhatti’s arrest, who offered up details of the complaint process and the absurd delays in getting both constables to submit statements.
It was 65 days from the date of the [alleged] punch to the head by Constable Geoff Mantler before either he or his partner were asked to submit statements.
Mantler did not submit his statement until 3 months after the [alleged] assault, on December 9, 2010. He consulted a lawyer before doing so.
During the first day of the trial RCMP Sgt. Wade Severson, the member in charge of taking complaints against RCMP members, testified that the report sat on his desk for a month and that it was over three months before a criminal investigation was undertaken.
If I was a betting man, my money would be on RCMP Constable Geoff Mantler walking free in this case.
While my good friend and un-indicted co-conspirator Jane Gaffin would tell me in no uncertain terms “never try to out-judge a judge”, I just can’t see why Judge Takahashi would convict Geoff Mantler in this case when there’s another police brutality case waiting in the wings where, unless God himself steps in on his behalf, Constable Geoff Mantler ought to be convicted of aggravated assault in about 3 minutes flat.
That case is, of course, where RCMP Constable Geoff Mantler was caught on video brutally kicking Buddy Tavares in the face for absolutely no reason that any rational human being can find.
Interestingly, Buddy Tavares was in court both days of Mantler’s trial for [allegedly] punching Manjit Singh Bhatti in the face. I know Tavares is anxiously awaiting his day in court, which is scheduled for this coming November 26, 2012.
That being said, I’m perfectly willing to be surprised in a week or two by news that Judge Takahashi finds Constable Geoff Mantler guilty of assault against Manjit Singh Bhatti.
I’m just not going to hold my breath waiting for that verdict.