As much as I would like to have been surprised by Geoff Mantler being acquitted of assaulting Manjit Singh Bhatti on August 30, 2010, sadly I am not. I predicted he would be acquitted on July 12, 2012 in my article titled Constable Geoff Mantler’s Fate in Assault Trial awaits Judge Mark Takahashi’s decision.
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 Mark 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.
Turns out I was correct, not that I wanted to be.
So that's one trial down, one trial to go for Geoff Mantler, the disgraced RCMP constable who has been suspended without pay after he was caught on camera brutally kicking a defenseless Buddy Tavares in the face.
That trial is scheduled for this November, and it will be interesting to see what happens there. No doubt Mantler will use this acquittal to assure the jury he's just a deeply misunderstood man doing a tough job. Tough job or not, I hope he gets what he so richly deserves at his November trial, since he managed to escape unscathed this time.
I can't wait to read the actual decision in this case, as news reports coming out of Kelowna make it clear that Judge Takahashi was not impressed with Mantler's actions, but could not find that the evidence before him was enough to overcome reasonable doubt.
Kelowna's Castanet.com News website had this to say:
Takahashi also chastised Cst. Goodwin for being unable to provide a better account of the incident, leaving doubt as to whether he caused the injuries when he handcuffed Bhatti or Mantler caused them when Goodwin's view was obstructed as he was placing Bhatti's bike into the trunk of the police cruiser.
Takahashi said the evidence shows Bhatti was injured during the arrest, and that he has concerns over Mantler's actions, saying he believes those actions likely caused Bhatti's injuries.
However, the judge admitted that his concerns do not amount to proof and therefore was acquitting Mantler on the charge.
Kelowna Capitol News reporter Kathy Michaels wrote it up this way:
Provincial court judge Mark Takahashi acquitted Const. Geoffrey Mantler of assault Thursday, saying he was "in the awkward position of being certain Mantler caused the injury" to Manjeet Singh Bhatti, but evidence presented in the trial didn't meet the standard set for a conviction.
Clearly even Judge Takahashi believed Mantler was guilty. He just couldn't find himself pushed past the post of "reasonable doubt" due to the inconsistent testimony of Manter's assault victim.
As I said, I can't wait to read the full decision in this case, and I am even more impatient to see the outcome of the November trial, where Mantler is almost surely going to be convicted unless there really is no justice left in Canada.