British Columbia

Records of full investigation into disgraced detective won't be disclosed, court rules

An inventory of the entire investigation into the misconduct of former Vancouver detective James Fisher will not be disclosed to one of the pimps he helped put behind bars, the B.C. Court of Appeal has ruled.

Convicted pimp Reza Moazami had asked for access to inventory of files on probe into James Fisher

In recent months, numerous new allegations have been raised about serious misconduct by former VPD detective James Fisher. (CBC)

An inventory of the entire investigation into the misconduct of former Vancouver detective James Fisher will not be disclosed to one of the pimps he helped put behind bars, the B.C. Court of Appeal has ruled.

Reza Moazami is appealing his convictions on dozens of charges, arguing that Fisher's wrongdoing was much more extensive than previously known, and that it interfered with his right to a fair trial.

To date, Moazami has received about 3,500 pages of heavily redacted disclosure related to the investigation into Fisher, but his lawyer has pointed out that the investigative file might be as large as 24,000 pages. 

In December, the defence team applied for a full inventory of that file, asking for a special commissioner to be appointed to go through the material and determine how much should be revealed to Moazami.

A panel of three appeal court justices rejected that application in a judgment issued Monday.

"I cannot conclude that there are relevant documents or materials that have not been disclosed, nor can I conclude that the Crown has failed in its obligation to make reasonable inquiries of the police," Justice David Harris wrote in the unanimous judgment.

The Crown has said that the bulk of material that has not been disclosed to date relates to third parties who are not connected to Moazami's appeal.

Reza Moazami is appealing his convictions on dozens of charges, arguing that Fisher's wrongdoing was much more extensive than previously known, and that it interfered with his right to a fair trial. (CBC)

Long list of allegations against Fisher

Fisher was once a celebrated officer with the Vancouver Police Department's Counter Exploitation Unit, which has led major investigations into prostitution and human-trafficking operations.

He was sentenced last year to 20 months in jail after pleading guilty to sexual exploitation and breach of trust for kissing two female victims of sex crimes that he had investigated. One of those young women testified against Moazami in his trial on human-trafficking and prostitution-related offences.

Fisher was originally charged with offences against another two young women involved in the Moazami investigation, but those charges were stayed after Fisher pleaded guilty.

Recent months have seen a steady stream of new allegations against Fisher, including claims that he sexually abused several other young women during the course of his investigations into Vancouver pimps, beginning mere months after he joined the Counter Exploitation Unit in 2011. 

Moazami's legal team has laid out a long list of claims about Fisher's actions, including that he:

  • Offered and procured drugs for multiple victims in Moazami's trial;
  • Gave them "significant amounts of money";
  • Stayed in hotel rooms with them;
  • Coerced them into sex;
  • Bought them food, cigarettes and other items in exchange for sexual favours;
  • Helped one witness avoid an attempted murder charge;
  • Provided others with police intelligence on people;
  • Arranged protection for the young women while they worked in the sex trade;
  • Deleted his own text messages and Facebook account to obstruct investigators.

Another two pimps jailed as a result of Fisher's investigations are also appealing their convictions.

Meanwhile, three other officers who worked with Fisher in the Counter Exploitation Unit are now the subject of a separate criminal investigation in connection with their conduct during the Fisher probe.

Those officers are still on active duty, but are working with another unit.

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.