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Memorial University student’s attempted-murder trial delayed

Masih Allahbakhshi, 29, in provincial court in St. John’s.
Masih Allahbakhshi, 29, in provincial court in St. John’s. - The Telegram

Masih Allahbakhshi’s lawyer withdraws from case; new trial dates to be set

The trial of a Memorial University student accused of attempting to murder a man last year didn’t go ahead as planned Monday, since his lawyer successfully applied to be removed from the case.
Masih Allahbakhshi, 29, had been represented by lawyer Ken Mahoney. Last week, Mahoney asked the court to withdraw from the case due to a breakdown in client-solicitor relationship. The breakdown was reportedly primarily caused by Allahbakhshi’s failure to fulfill an agreement for paying his past legal bills and a new retainer fee.
Allahbakhshi has pleaded not guilty to attempted murder, and his trial was set to start in provincial court in St. John’s Monday. He’ll make his next appearance in court on the charge Feb. 23, when he will be represented by his new lawyer, Mark Gruchy, and new trial dates will potentially be set.
The engineering PhD student was arrested last April after he allegedly tried to push a fellow student over a cliff at Signal Hill while they were walking. The pair fell about 20 feet, and the victim received minor injuries.
After a seven-day psychiatric assessment, Allahbakhshi was deemed fit to stand trial. He was released on a number of conditions — including that he turn in his passport, adhere to a curfew and report to the RNC multiple times a week — but was arrested again Jan. 5 and charged with administering a noxious thing to the same man, with the intention to harm him.
Allahbakhshi is alleged to have given the man prescription drugs in an incident four days before the Signal Hill event. The charge wasn’t laid until January, since police hadn’t yet received forensic testing results.
After a bail hearing that lasted more than a week, Allahbakhshi was once again released to await his next court date, under the same conditions as previously ordered, with one more: he is banned from working or volunteering in any capacity requiring him to prepare or serve food or drink to others.

Twitter: @tara_bradbury

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