Afshin Maleki Ighani, 45, was denied bail in a Wednesday morning hearing. Ighani is accused of a violent string of crimes in the South Okanagan-Similkameen area. Western News file photo

Alleged violent offender Ighani denied bail

Ighani is accused of kidnapping and assault causing bodily harm in separate incidents

A man accused of violent crimes in the South Okanagan-Similkameen area and while he was an inmate at the Okanagan Correctional Centre will not be released on bail.

Afshin Maleki Ighani entered a bail hearing Wednesday morning after a two-day preliminary inquiry. Both hearings are covered by a publication ban.

What can be published, however, is that Ighani has been denied bail.

Related: Alleged shooter appears in court

Judges have a number of considerations in bail hearings: the accused’s criminal history, history of breaches of court orders or lack thereof, the seriousness of the charges, the likelihood of the accused to breach bail conditions and protection of the public, among others.

Ighani is accused of a string of incidents in the South Okanagan and Similkameen area that occurred in April this year.

Charges on the initial incident that sparked the violent spree have been dropped, after the gunshot victim, Thomas Szajko, died of unrelated causes earlier this month. Ighani was accused of shooting Szajko in April, but with Szajko, the key Crown witness on the matter, no longer able to testify, the Crown announced in court on Monday charges would not be pursued.

Related: Charges dropped for the attempted murder of an Oliver man

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

A Canada-wide warrant was issued for Ighani after Szajko was shot on April 19. Just days later it is alleged Ighani was involved in a string of incidents including kidnapping a woman at gunpoint after kicking a man out of the vehicle they were in.

Ighani was later found in a Princeton mobile home park, where shots were fired before he was taken into custody, and the kidnapping victim was taken away from the scene.

Related: Shots fired as RCMP arrest wanted man

Related: Second lawsuit filed this week against jail

Ighani is also accused of causing bodily harm in a Port Coquitlam provincial court file dated 2014 and of two counts of assault causing bodily harm for attacking two inmates at Okanagan Correctional Centre in September.

In that case, Ighani is accused of assaulting David James McHale and Peter Beckett, that latter of which was, days later, convicted of drowning his wife in Upper Arrow Lake.

According to a lawsuit filed by McHale, a jail guard accidentally left a unit unlocked, which allowed Ighani into the room when he then stabbed him. McHale is in protective custody.

Ighani is expected to stand trial on all charges.

Related: Alleged Oliver shooter elects trial by judge


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