British Columbia

Serious crimes investigators from Alberta handling probe into 3 VPD officers

The serious crimes branch of the Alberta RCMP has been investigating the conduct of three Vancouver police officers for the last two years, Mounties have confirmed.

Officers with Vancouver Counter Exploitation Unit under investigation linked to misconduct of disgraced cop

Three officers with the VPD's Counter Exploitation Unit are currently under investigation. (Christer Waara/CBC)

The serious crimes branch of the Alberta RCMP has been investigating the conduct of three Vancouver police officers for the last two years, Mounties have confirmed.

The probe into the three officers with the VPD's Counter Exploitation Unit was prompted by allegations raised during an investigation into the sexual misconduct of former VPD detective James Fisher.

Alberta RCMP spokesperson Fraser Logan told CBC that Mounties in B.C. handed over the case in 2017, and the investigation is still ongoing. He said he couldn't provide details about the allegations at the centre of the probe.

The existence of the investigation was revealed last week, when lawyer Marilyn Sandford told a B.C. Court of Appeal justice that the three officers were facing allegations "with relation to what appears to be corruption."

Vancouver police have confirmed that an investigation is underway but are not releasing information about whether the officers are still on duty.

The officers all worked with Fisher on major cases concerning prostitution and human trafficking, some of which led to high-profile convictions that are now being appealed.

Sandford represents Tamim Albashir, one of the men convicted for pimping-related crimes as a result of a Counter Exploitation Unit investigation. Albashir and his co-defendant, Kasra Mohsenipour, have both filed appeals.

"This very small unit within the VPD, most of whose members are involved in our case in significant proportion, four out of nine have either been charged — Mr Fisher convicted — or are still being investigated," Sandford said last week.

Detective Const. James Fisher, pictured here in 2014, was convicted of sexual exploitation and breach of trust for kissing two female victims of sex crimes. (CBC)

Once a celebrated detective, Fisher was sentenced last year to 20 months in jail for sexual exploitation and breach of trust for kissing two female victims of sex crimes.

The last few months have seen numerous serious new allegations about misconduct by Fisher, including claims that he sexually and emotionally abused several other young women during the course of his investigations.

Two of those young women have filed lawsuits, alleging that Fisher pressured them into sexual acts after they had already been victimized by sex traffickers.

He's denied those claims.

Reza Moazami, who was convicted of dozens of charges for running a teenage prostitution ring, has also alleged that Fisher gave young women drugs and encouraged them to lie in court, and that the VPD was aware of issues with the detective five years before he was suspended from duty in 2016.

Those allegations have not been tested in court.

About the Author

Bethany Lindsay

Journalist

Bethany Lindsay is a B.C. journalist with a focus on the courts, health, science and social justice issues. Questions or news tips? Get in touch at bethany.lindsay@cbc.ca or on Twitter through @bethanylindsay.

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