Afshin Maleki Ighani, 45, was arrested in April in Princeton and is facing several charges including attempted murder in connection to a shooting that took place in Oliver. Ighani could get off on the charges, after the alleged shooting victim died last week. (Western News file photo)

Attempted murder charge up in the air after victim’s death

Without Thomas Szajko’s testimony, alleged shooter Afshin Ighani could get off on that charge

A man accused of an April crime spree in the South Okanagan and Similkameen areas may get off on allegedly shooting an Oliver man, after the key witness died last week.

Afshin Maleki Ighani is accused of shooting Thomas Szajko in Oliver on Apr. 19 this year, and has been going through the court system, leading up to a trial on the matters. But Szajko was the Crown’s key witness on that matter, and he died in his home on Dec. 1 of unspecified causes.

Related: Oliver shooting victim reportedly dies months later

Asked how the trial could go forward without testimony of Szajko, Crown lawyer John Swanson only said “That’s a problem.”

Though Szajko may have made a statement to the police, no testimony would mean the defence has no opportunity to cross-examine Szajko.

Swanson said he is working with police to review evidence and attempt to build up the case without testimony from Szajko.

“We’re working on it,” he said in a brief interview with the Western News.

Related: Alleged Oliver shooter elects trial by judge

Though Ighani may get off without a trial on that matter, he will still need to stand trial over the alleged kidnapping of a woman later that week, as police entered a regional manhunt for him.

Police had surrounded an RV they believed Ighani to be living in at Szajko’s property on the evening of Apr. 19, but after entering the vehicle did not find Ighani.

Later that week, police received reports of a man having kicked another man out of a vehicle and taking a woman with him, leading the police to the Similkameen Valley.

Related: RCMP hunt for alleged shooter

Ighani was later found in a mobile home park in Princeton, where he was arrested and charged on all alleged incidents.

Ighani’s next court appearance is set for Dec. 18 for a preliminary inquiry.


@dustinrgodfrey

dustin.godfrey@pentictonwesternnews.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

South Okanagan pays it forward to BC Wildfire Service firefighters

Community members thank Eagle Bluff firefighters through Tim Hortons donations

Penticton students receive over $46,000 in bursaries

Twenty-two students will receive the Community Foundation bursaries for the 2019 school-year

Lake-to-lake cycling route to be discussed at Pedal Penticton

City staff to discuss the route but there will also be a number of exhibits for attendees to explore

The Offspring and Sum41 ready to rock Penticton

The Offspring and Sum 41 will stop in Penticton to the South Okanagan Events Centre

Motorcyclist involved in Westside Road crash

Air ambulance assists while motorists face lengthy delays

Knife-wielding man tries to break into Okanagan retirement home

Seniors and staff shaken by incident and upset with RCMP response

B.C. manhunt suspects left cellphone video before they died: family

Family member says Kam McLeod, Bryer Schmegelsky recorded final wishes

Okanagan dog ‘Alice’ to get surgery thanks to BC SPCA crowdfunding

With the surgery, Alice’s prognosis is ‘excellent,’ stated the BC SPCA

Suspicious item forces 47 to evacuate plane at Kelowna airport

Kelowna RCMP continue investigation of suspicious item on airplane

Kelowna man nearly drowns on Okanagan Lake

The victim is in serious yet stable condition but his condition has worsened since going to hospital

Okanagan youth protest Tolko logging

Small group gathers outside Tolko head office

Kelowna International Airport threat deemed non-credible

Normal operations have resumed following note of a suspicious item on board a WestJet plane

Okanagan bus driver assaulted for asking patron not to smoke

59-year-old in hospital with non-life threatening injuries

Most Read