Afshin Maleki Ighani, 45, is facing several charges, including attempted murder in connection with an April shooting in Oliver. Western News file photo

Alleged Oliver shooter elects trial by judge

Afshin Ighani is charged with attempted murder and kidnapping using a firearm, among other charges

Afshin Maleki Ighani is expected to undergo a judge-only trial in Supreme Court of B.C. for a number of charges, including the alleged attempted murder of Thomas Szajko.

Defence counsel Michael Patterson made an informal election in court Monday afternoon to the Supreme Court judge trial, though with no appearance from Ighani, a formal election will be made with the trial co-ordinator.

Ighani is accused in three separate files, including one involving several firearms charges and the attempted murder of Szajko and another file with one count of possessing a firearm contrary to a court order.

Related: Alleged Oliver shooter pleads guilty to unrelated drug charge

The first file refers to an Apr. 19 incident, in which Ighani reportedly shot Szajko in Oliver, and led to a major police presence in a quiet Oliver neighbourhood. Police had been seeking Ighani, and had a vehicle surrounded, but upon entering the vehicle after several hours, Ighani was not inside.

The police action prompted the evacuation of some houses on Oliver’s Tulameen Street, where the police had camped out near the vehicle Ighani had been assumed to occupy.

The third file Ighani is accused in includes charges of kidnapping using a firearm, several more firearms charges, uttering threats and assault with a weapon.

Related: Alleged shooter appears in court

That incident took place just a few days after the Oliver incident, in Princeton, where Ighani allegedly kicked man out of the vehicle the two were in, and drove away with a woman still inside, leaving police scrambling.

A roadblock had been set up by Keremeos RCMP for Ighani, by then wanted on a Canada-wide warrant, but he never did cross the block. Instead, Ighani was tracked by a dog in the bushes near Deblyn Motor Home Estates in Princeton, after the woman’s phone was tracked by police.

Crown counsel Andrew Vandersluys couldn’t say at this point how long the trial is expected to last, with Crown lawyer John Swanson also expected to take on the matter, but Patterson did ask for preliminary inquiries for each of the files.

Related: RCMP hunt for alleged shooter

Counsel will be going to the trial co-ordinator on Sept. 27 to determine a date for the preliminary inquiries and the trial itself.

Because of some case law that suggests counsel cannot enter an election on behalf of their client, Ighani will have to enter his own election for a Supreme Court judge at the trial co-ordinator.

Szajko is expected to undergo his own trial in early October for an incident following the shooting, facing charges of assault with a weapon or causing harm, assault with a weapon and assault causing bodily harm.

Ighani has been issued a no-contact order for Szajko, Christopher Gliege and Jody Walker.

Related: Shots fired as RCMP arrest wanted man


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