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Convicted assailant on the lam after skipping Penticton court date

Afshin Maleki Ighani had been scheduled to appear in March to consult legal counsel
Afshin Maleki Ighani was sentenced to time served and let out of jail in 2020. (File photo)

After being released from Okanagan Correctional Centre, a notorious convicted felon failed to show up for his Penticton court date in March.

A warrant was issued for Afshin Maleki Ighani after he failed to show up for a scheduled appearance to consult legal counsel on March 27, regarding charges of wilfully resisting or obstructing an officer and driving while prohibited for an alleged incident that took place in Okanagan Falls on Nov. 30, 2023.

The warrant is an endorsed warrant, meaning that he will not be held after being arrested, but can be released with orders to appear in court. Communications for the Crown Prosecution Service confirmed that as of May 28, the warrant is still outstanding.

Ighani had initially appeared in court via video from the Okanagan Correctional Centre in February for the charges.

READ MORE: Well known criminal freed from jail

Ighani had been before the courts in 2020 for sentencing of time served for five assault charges relating to two separate assaults at Okanagan Correctional Centre (OCC) for which he had earlier pleaded guilty.

The 52-year-old had been in jail since April 22, 2017.

According to court documents, in 2017, Ighani stabbed fellow inmates Peter Beckett, who is serving time for the 2010 first-degree murder of his wife, and convicted child molester David McHale.

The other charge related to the 2018 assault of a female OCC officer who received “severe bruising” while attempting to return him to his cell.

Ighani got his notoriety in 2017 when he was arrested following a Canada-wide man-hunt on kidnapping charges. He was charged with 10 kidnapping and weapons offences in relation to an incident that took place in Okanagan Falls and Princeton where he was eventually caught.

During the crime spree, it’s alleged that Ighani shot Thomas Szajko, leading to a major police presence on a quiet residential street in the town of Oliver, where Ighani was believed to have been staying in a camper trailer.

While police were looking for him, he allegedly kidnapped two people, who were later identified as key witnesses and who had agreed to drive him from Okanagan Falls to the Lower Mainland for $400. On the way, he took control of the vehicle and forced them to turn off on a logging road between Princeton and Manning Park.

The vehicle stopped about six kilometres along the road, where one of them was forced to get out and start digging.

Police at the time said all three were people who were known to each other.

He was acquitted of all of those charges after defence lawyer Paul McMurray convinced the presiding judge there was sufficient doubt relating to the testimony of the two key crown witnesses, one of who fled to the United States after testifying.

Attempted murder and weapons charges against Ighani relating to the shooting of Szajko were stayed after Szajko, the key witness, died months later of an unrelated cause.

Brennan Phillips

About the Author: Brennan Phillips

Brennan was raised in the Okanagan and is thankful every day that he gets to live and work in one of the most beautiful places in Canada.
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