The trial of a man charged with stabbing convicted murderer and former Napier city councillor Peter Beckett in a Canadian jail has been put-off because of difficulties between the accused and his lawyer.

Ironically, Beckett spent six years in custody on remand awaiting his outcome, in delays linked to his own difficulties with his lawyers but also including the need for a second trial after his first jury was unable to reach a verdict.

The near two-metres-tall Beckett is one of two prisoners alleged to have been stabbed by fellow inmate Afshin Maleki Ighani in Okanagan Correctional Centre, in Oliver, British Columbia, just days before a jury in September 2017 found Beckett guilty of the murder of second-wife and Canadian schoolteacher Laura Letts-Beckett.

Ighani's trial, on charges of assault causing injury to Beckett and convicted child molester David James McHale, was to have started this week in the British Columbian Supreme Court in Penticton.

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Afshin Maleki Ighani. Photo / Royal Canadian Mounted Police
Afshin Maleki Ighani. Photo / Royal Canadian Mounted Police

Ighani's lawyer told a judge he was not at the point of seeking leave to withdraw, but there were serious issues he needed to address with his client.

While the application for adjournment was opposed by the prosecutor, Justice Steven Wilson said it wasn't his business to pry into the lawyer-client relationship and reluctantly adjourned the matter to January 28 to set a new trial date.

Beckett was sentenced on the day of his verdict to life imprisonment with a minimum of 25 years, for the murder of his wife in a drowning in Upper Arrow Lake, near Revelstoke, British Columbia, in August 2010.

Aged 60 at the time of his sentence, he won't be eligible for release until his early 80s.

Having grown up in Hawke's Bay, he was a city councillor in Napier in 1998-2001, before moving to Canada to join his then future wife, whom he had met when she was a sightseer on one of his company's Cape Kidnappers tours in 1995.