Despite ongoing delays, the trial of Afshin Maleki Ighani made some progress on Nov. 21 before it was adjourned again until Jan. 6.
The morning session of the Supreme Court trial in Penticton ended with Ighani finally saying he had no evidence to call in the crown’s case against him. This came only after Judge Nitya Iyer pushed him on the matter when he tried to get another extension to consider what he thought would be evidence in his case, the police officer flying the helicopter at the time of his arrest.
Judge Iyer questioned the relevance of the pilot’s witness statement, saying the pilot made a statement on previous court dates where she had determined it not relevant in the kidnapping charges.
Maleki Ighani, 48, is charged with a string of offences related to armed kidnapping on April 22, 2017.
He is accused of forcing Jodie Walker and Christopher William Gliege to drive him from Okanagan Falls to the Lower Mainland. The Crown alleges he forced Gliege out of the vehicle by gunpoint on a road near Princeton and fired the gun over his head. He pleaded not guilty to all the charges.
In January, the Crown’s witness Jodie Walker came under the scrutiny of Ighani’s defence attorney at the time, Paul McMurray, before he fired him. She then failed to show up to court on Jan. 7 for the continuation and a material witness warrant was issued. Walker came into custody in the days following and was released on a recognizance to appear before the court on Jan. 28, Black Press reported.
The second witness, Gliege, whose statement came from testimony at a preliminary inquiry, fled the country before the trial last December.
During the crown’s closing argument Thursday afternoon, Judge Iyer brought up the inconsistencies in Walker’s statements at different times during the trial.
Crown counsel John Swanson acknowledged her statements are problematic.
“I acknowledge that Miss Walker was a very, very reluctant witness. We had to force her to come here. She did not want to be here and did not want to testify against Ighani. Now, whether that was because of a friendship with him or because she was afraid of him or whatever it was, we don’t know,” he said.
But, Swanson added that together with Gliege’s swore evidence and the police evidence recovered during the investigation, there is enough to convict Ighani on all charges.
Justice Iyer adjourned the trial until Jan. 6 to allow time for transcripts to be prepared and for Ighani to prepare his closing arguments.
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