A delay has stalled trials for a South Okanagan man facing assault charges for allegedly stabbing fellow inmates at the Okanagan Correctional Centre in Oliver.
Afshin Maleki Ighani is charged with two counts of assault with a weapon and two counts of assault causing bodily harm related to incidents that occurred in September 2017 at the jail. He allegedly stabbed David James McHale, a convicted child molestor, with a sharp shank and then assaulted Peter Beckett, who days after the incident was found guilty by a jury of first degree murder for drowning his wife at a lake near Revelstoke.
Ighani appeared in B.C. Supreme Court in Penticton on Tuesday for what was to be the first day of trial. Instead, defence counsel Paul McMurray applied, and received, an adjournment.
“I have reached the point with my client that, frankly, we are having some difficulties and I am having some difficulties with my instructions. I am not at this point seeking leave to withdraw, but there are some serious issues that I think I need to address further with Mr. Ighani,” said McMurray.
Crown counsel Kurt Froehlich opposed the application and argued that the matter has been set for trial since spring and summer of 2018. Froehlich said the Crown was ready to proceed with the trial and brought several witnesses in to testify, including at least one from the Lower Mainland.
Justice Steven Wilson said it would go on the record that the adjournment is solely at the request of the accused.
“This is an unfortunate situation because the matter had been set for some time, however, it is not appropriate for the court to pry into the circumstances that arise to concerns in relationship between solicitor and client and must accept what Mr. McMurray says at face value,” said Wilson.
The matters will now return to fix a date on Jan. 28, the same date set aside for another trial currently underway where Ighani is facing 10 charges related to an alleged armed kidnapping that took place on April 17, 2017.