DNA warrant pushes back Ighani kidnapping trial

Afshin Ighani is accused of a violent spree spanning the South Okanagan-Similkameen region

A man accused of kidnapping a pair of people in an alleged string of violent crimes throughout the South Okanagan-Similkameen will likely have his trial pushed back after all.

After Afshin Maleki Ighani’s former defence lawyer Michael Patterson was dropped from the record, at Ighani’s request, Burnaby lawyer Paul McMurray took on the file. That move had caused some concern from the court in early May that Ighani’s trial, scheduled for Monday, would need to be rescheduled.

McMurray had said at the time he did not anticipate any need to reschedule the trial. That changed as of Friday morning, however, after court documents McMurray had requested — the documentation supporting a warrant to obtain a blood sample from Ighani — had not arrived.

Related: Late DNA order may complicate Ighani trial over alleged violent spree

McMurray said he anticipated getting the file and further obtaining a second expert opinion on the DNA results would not be feasible by next week.

The court learned early in May that police had taken swabs of a firearm found in Ighani’s engine block, but had not done anything with them until recently. Police requested and obtained a warrant to take a DNA sample from Ighani to compare with the DNA taken from the firearm.

McMurray noted that two Crown witnesses, the two people allegedly kidnapped by Ighani, would be “difficult” witnesses, as was learned in pre-trial matters.

Related: Ighani accused of yet another violent incident at Okanagan jail

He added that with Ighani alleged to have put the firearm in the engine block, he would like independent expert to review the DNA match.

McMurray said the DNA comparison done by police experts was “unusual” in that it was a mixed match — not the one in a million match that Crown lawyers can often rest cases on.

Crown lawyer John Swanson agreed to the adjournment, calling the application “perfectly reasonable.”

However, while Justice David Crossin said he was amenable to the adjournment, he was not interested in granting it without having the accused present in the courtroom to personally approve of the adjournment.

The court will reconvene on the matter with Ighani present in the courtroom on Monday — the day the trial was scheduled to start — to formalize the adjournment.

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Dustin Godfrey | Reporter


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