Officer verifies forgetful witness’s video statement

By Joe Fries
Special to OsoyoosToday

After an unusual start to proceedings Monday, the Penticton trial of an alleged kidnapper settled into a more predictable groove Tuesday with testimony from two Mounties who played central roles in the case.

Afshin Maleki Ighani, 47, is accused of taking Jodie Walker and Christopher Gliege captive on April 22, 2017, while driving between Okanagan Falls and the Lower Mainland.

Mr. Ighani, who’s being tried by judge alone in B.C. Supreme Court, has pleaded not guilty to 10 offences, including two counts of kidnapping using a firearm and assault with a weapon.

Tuesday’s first witness was RCMP Const. Chad Jackson, who was called by the Crown to confirm the accuracy of a video recording of a statement he took from Walker in the hours after the incident.

Ms. Walker on Monday testified she had no memory of the events in question and didn’t even recognize herself in the video. The Crown is hoping to tender the statement as evidence anyway.

Const. Jackson also testified how he found a black revolver in the engine compartment of Ms. Walker’s car. The gun’s description and hiding spot matched those provided by Ms. Walker in her statement.

The trial heard later Tuesday from Cpl. Sean Hall, who assisted in Mr. Ighani’s arrest following a short chase in a Princeton mobile home park.

Ms. Walker said in her police statement she drove to the park with Mr. Ighani after a terrifying incident on a logging road outside Princeton during which Mr. Ighani pointed a gun at the head of her then-boyfriend, Mr. Gliege, and then fired it into the air.

She also recalled how Mr. Ighani, who she knew was wanted for an unrelated shooting a few days earlier in Oliver, had offered to pay her and Mr. Gliege $400 for a ride from Okanagan Falls to the Lower Mainland.

The trial is expected to continue through the week.

Court heard Mr. Gliege is believed to have fled to the U.S. The testimony he delivered at a preliminary inquiry last spring will be entered into evidence at Mr. Ighani’s trial.

Mr. Ighani, who’s still awaiting trial for allegedly assaulting two prisoners and a guard at the Okanagan Correctional Centre, 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.

Joe Fries is an editor and writer for The Penticton Herald. OsoyoosToday and The Herald share an informal editorial use agreement.


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