Officer appears in court

  • Apr. 29, 2011 7:00 p.m.

BY CHERYL WIERDA

BLACK PRESS

Buddy Tavares came back from Mexico early in the hopes of seeing the police officer charged with assaulting him for the first time since the incident that led to the charge took place in January.

However, he’ll have to wait another two weeks to attempt that meeting with Const. Geoffrey Mantler, after the officer’s court cases were dealt with early at the Kelowna courthouse on Tuesday afternoon.

Mantler, 28, from Armstrong, was scheduled to make his first court appearance on two charges of assault causing bodily harm — one of which involves Tavares as the alleged victim — at 2 p.m. on Tuesday, but his cases were called at 1:42 p.m., shortly after Mantler arrived in the courtroom.

During the brief appearance, Mantler stood silently at the back of courtroom 8 with his hands crossed and clutching a soft-sided briefcase as his lawyer addressed the justice of the peace presiding in the room.

Neville McDougall said he had yet to receive disclosure of evidence for either charge and expected to receive that information later this week.

He requested the case return to court in two weeks.

Mantler said nothing as he left the courthouse and got into a waiting vehicle, driven by another local member of the RCMP.

A few minutes later, Tavares seemed a bit at a loss for words after learning Mantler’s case had been dealt with before he had arrived in the courtroom.

“I flew back from Mexico just to hear nothing,” said Tavares.

“I wanted him to see me sitting there.”

Mantler arrested Tavares at gunpoint on Jan. 7, after police received a call about a man with a gun at the Harvest Golf Club.

During the arrest, which was captured on video by Castanet, Mantler could be seen kicking Tavares in the face while Tavares, who suffered a brain injury last summer, was on all fours.

Tavares was initially charged with careless use of a firearm following the arrest, but that charge was later dropped.

Mantler was charged with assault causing bodily harm in relation to that arrest last month.

At the same time, police and justice officials announced a second charge of assault causing bodily harm against Mantler, related to an Aug. 30 incident. Court records identify the victim in that case as Manjeet Singh Bhatti.

Mantler, who is currently suspended with pay, is now scheduled to return to court the afternoon of May 10.

Tavares has pledged to return to the courthouse for that date.

“I’ll be here every time,” he said.