December 05, 2012 - 12:36 PM
RCMP Const. Geoff Mantler is expected to tell his side of the story to a B.C. Provincial Court judge this afternoon.
Crown counsel Will Burrows called two witnesses before resting his case this morning, which signalled the beginning of Mantler's defence. Mantler is charged with assault causing bodily harm in the Jan. 7, 2011 arrest of Buddy Tavares. Mantler has sat silently in the gallery during the trial, during which his tactics and methods leading up to and including his kick to Tavares' face have been called into question.
The last of the Crown's witnesses was Kerry Solinsky, a retired, 30-year veteran of the RCMP who served as Mantler's instructor for high-risk vehicle stops. Mantler went through training under Solinsky in May, 2008 and September, 2010. Solinsky said he saw the videotape shot by a journalist that revealed events before, during and after the kick.
Burrows asked Solinsky whether Mantler followed proper procedure during the arrest.
"Not the way I instructed it," Solinsky said.
For about 30 minutes prior to that conclusion, Solinsky outlined proper procedure for a high-risk traffic stop. He said an officer should wait for backup unless faced with either a hostage situation or an armed subject. The officer should take cover, Solinsky said, draw his weapon and wait for backup.
Mantler approached Tavares' truck before backup arrived.
Burrows also called eyewitness Kynan O'Rourke, a tradesman who was working on a building renovation the day of the incident. O'Rourke was in a parking lot about 25 feet away from the arrest scene. Although he was on the passenger side of Tavares' truck—the opposite side of the kick—he testified that he could see arms and legs as he looked under the truck.
O'Rourke said he could hear the kick, but did not see it.
"The best way I could describe it was that it sounded like a piece of fruit hitting the floor, like a watermelon or a cantaloupe," he said.
O'Rourke said Tavares seemed to comply with Mantler's orders and could not detect any sudden movements that he would consider threatening gestures.
Infotel will have details of Mantler's testimony this afternoon.
News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2012