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article imageSenior Vancouver detective charged with sexual exploitation

By Arthur Weinreb     Dec 31, 2016 in Crime
Vancouver - Charges brought against a senior officer with Vancouver PD's Counter Exploitation Unit may result in charges being dropped against people he investigated and might make abused women less likely to go to police for help
On Thursday Adam Palmer, Chief Constable of the Vancouver Police Department, issued a statement announcing the arrest of Constable James Fisher. Fisher had been under investigation since March and Crown Counsel had just approved the laying of six charges against the officer.
Fisher has been charged with three counts of sexual exploitation and one count each of sexual assault, obstruction of justice and breach of trust. The sexual assault charge involves allegations Fisher sexually touched a prosecution witness and the obstruction of justice charge alleges he made false statements to an RCMP officer. All the offences are alleged to have occurred between August 2015 and November 2016.
The alleged victims include one adult woman and one child. No other details can be released because of a court-issued publication ban.
Fisher held a senior position with the VPD’s Counter Exploitation Unit. The unit deals prostitution and criminal exploitation. Officers attached to the unit investigate child pornography offences and the online sexual exploitation of children. The unit also investigates incidents of human trafficking and assists prostitutes who want to leave the lifestyle.
Fisher, a 29-year-veteran of the VPD, was a well-respected officer and is well known in the Vancouver area due to the number of high-profile case he worked on as a senior investigator. The fact the charges he faces are similar to those he investigated, his arrest has led to a cause for concern.
Paul Doroshenko, a Vancouver criminal lawyer, told 1130 News there is a chance some people facing charges worked on by Fisher may have their charges thrown out. And there will probably be moves to appeal convictions in cases the officer was involved in. But the lawyer also said the fact Fisher was a senior member of the unit means he would not have had the same amount of involvement in these cases as officers who actually did the legwork in the investigations.
Daisy Kler, a crisis worker in Vancouver, said Fisher made himself appear to be trustworthy and someone who was interested in arresting pimps and getting them off the street. Kler said as a result of the charges against Fisher, sexual assault victims or those who have been exploited will think twice before contacting police.
Fisher was suspended with pay on Wednesday, the day of his arrest. He has been released on bail and is scheduled to appear in a provincial court in Surrey on Jan. 24.
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