It’s time for one of the South Okanagan’s most notorious alleged criminals to find another lawyer or prepare to go it alone, a judge told him Monday.
Afshin Maleki Ighani was supposed to go on trial this week in B.C. Supreme Court in Penticton on two separate matters: one involving the alleged stabbings of two inmates at the Okanagan Correctional Centre in 2017 and one involving the alleged assault of a guard at the jail in 2018.
Ighani dumped his lawyer – for a second time – in July and told Justice Gary Weatherill on Monday that he was still trying to find new counsel, and therefore asked for an adjournment.
The judge expressed reservations about further delaying things and gave Ighani until Monday, Sept. 23, to retain a new lawyer or prove he has taken steps to get counsel.
“If not, you may want to roll your sleeves up and get ready for a trial next week,” said Weatherill.
Ighani also said he wasn’t ready proceed on the trial involving the two stabbings because he only learned on Sept. 3 that the Crown doesn’t intend to call the alleged victims as witnesses, so he would need time to subpoena them.
The complainants, sex offender David McHale and murderer Peter Beckett, were allegedly stabbed while in protective custody in 2017.
Crown counsel John Swanson said his office “believes we’re in a position to prove the case without either of the two complainants.”
Ighani is also midway through a third trial that started in December 2018 and involves the alleged drug-related kidnapping of two people in 2017. It is slated to resume Oct. 21.
Ighani is no stranger to the courts, having been sentenced in 2007 to 42 months in prison for his connection to an Oliver drug ring.
The native of Iran was ordered deported after that conviction, but his departure was stayed because he faced the death penalty in his home country, according to a source with knowledge of the matter.
Immigration officials have refused to discuss the case publicly, and it’s unclear if Ighani could be subject to new deportation proceedings if convicted of the charges he’s currently facing.