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.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

The whole family can enjoy the Princeton wildlife scavenger hunt

The Town of Princeton is offering residents a chance to get outside,… Continue reading

Three arrested after Keremeos shooting that severely injured one man

The victim was transported by air ambulance to a regional hospital

Okanagan whisky lottery adds new twists

Winners of Okanagan Spirits’ Laird of Fintry lottery announced in four batches beginning Sept. 28

QUIZ: Do you know what’s on TV?

Fall is normally the time when new television shows are released

Unofficial holidays: Here’s what people are celebrating for the week of Sept. 27 to Oct. 3

World Farm Animals Day, Drink Beer Day and Virus Appreciation Day are all coming up this week

B.C. records 98 more COVID-19 cases, most in Lower Mainland

One new senior home outbreak, Surrey Memorial outbreak over

Canadian ski resorts wrestle with pandemic-vs.-profit dilemma as COVID-19 persists

Few are actually restricting the total number of skiers they allow on the hill

Victoria-area RCMP locate high-risk sex offender thanks to help of taxi cab driver

Scott Jones wanted on a Canada-wide warrant, ‘a risk to women and girls,’ police say

UPDATE: One dead after motorcycle collision on Highway 97 near Peachland

The collision closed Highway 97 off-and-on throughout Sunday afternoon

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

A (virtual) walk around the world by 88-year-old B.C. man

George Doi says it’s simple: ‘I like walking’

End of CERB means uncertainty for some, new system for others

As of a week ago, the CERB had paid out $79.3 billion to 8.8 million people

West Kelowna Warriors complete sweep of Vernon Vipers

Warriors edge Snakes 2-1 as Okanagan Cup BCHL exhibition tournament begins

Horgan, Wilkinson trade barbs over MSP premiums, health care at campaign stops

Horgan called a snap election for Oct. 24 earlier this week

Most Read