Mantler trial wraps up

It was first thought Cst. Geoff Mantler would take the stand in his own defence Tuesday afternoon, but in the end he did not testify.

Instead the court heard from three police officers and the victim. It was the last day in the two day assault trial against Mantler.

Crown council Will Burrows was the first to present his closing arguments. He stated Manjiet Singh Bhatti was targeted by police not because he was riding a bike without a helmet, as Cst. Rick Goodwin suggested, but because of his location in a drug dealing area.

Burrows says he believes that both Goodwin and Mantler wanted to chase Bhatti and they wanted to 'shake him down'.

The Crown agreed with the defence that some of  Bhatti's testimony was inconsistent.

Burrows offered the court a different explanation as to why Goodwin never saw his partner hit the victim, stating it was because he was placing the bike Bhatti had been riding into the trunk of the patrol car.

Bhatti told the court he believed it was Goodwin who picked him up off the ground, but Burrows says the victim did not have his glasses on and had just been hit in the head, so he could not know for sure who placed him in the patrol car.

Burrows also pointed to video evidence. Taken in the search room of the Kelowna detachment, the video shows Bhatti asking Goodwin why he was hit by Mantler, Goodwin replies after some time, 'you brought this on yourself'.

McDougall asked the judge to acquit Mantler, because no one, including the victim, can actually prove it was Mantler that administered the blow to the head. The defence argued that Bhatti's evidence was not credible because he was probably high when the incident took place.

McDougall stated Bhatti's injuries are consistent with him hitting his head on the patrol car. Bhatti had a small cut above his eye. McDougall argued the injury could not have been severe because Bhatti waited 12 days to go to the hospital.

He says the reason Goodwin was heard saying, "you brought this on yourself", in the video, was because he was referring to the arrest.

McDougall did agree it was 'preposterous' it took 65 days before a statement was taken from the officers regarding the assault.

Provincial Court Judge Mark Takahashi wanted to know why Bhatti didn't stop and ask the police for help when he thought he was about to be robbed. Crown Council replied it was because Bhatti was a crack user and didn't want anything to do with the police, instead he just wanted to get out of the area.

Judge Takahashi also asked why Bhatti didn't stop for the officers and why he yelled he was going to the store when he rode away, for which the crown did not have a direct answer. Bhatti had testified earlier that he wanted to get somewhere with more light because it would be safer.

Judge Takahashi has reserved his decision for at least 10 days..

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