SURREY – The Crown says a former Vancouver police detective constable has pleaded guilty to sexual exploitation and breach of trust charges.
Crown prosecutor Winston Sayson says James Fisher pleaded guilty to three charges in Surrey provincial court on Wednesday.
Fisher was still on active duty in December 2016 when he was charged with a number of counts including sexual assault, sexual exploitation and obstruction of justice.
Sayson says Fisher pleaded guilty to three of the charges, including breach of trust for kissing a young person for a sexual purpose and a breach of trust for kissing another complainant.
He also pleaded guilty to sexual exploitation involving the young person, which Sayson says has a mandatory minimum sentence of 90 days in jail.
Sayson says the Crown is not pursuing the other charges facing Fisher as a result of new information, and sentencing is scheduled for June 29.
Fisher was a 29-year veteran of the Vancouver police department and a member of the force’s counter exploitation team, which investigates prostitution and criminal exploitation.
Fisher ‘not being held accountable’: rape relief shelter
While members of the Vancouver Rape Relief and Women’s Shelter are relieved victims won’t have to stand trial, the organizations Sophia Hladik says Fisher is pleading guilty to lesser charges than originally charged with. “He’s not being held accountable to the full extent he could have,” she tells NEWS 1130. “We’ll have to wait for more details at the sentencing hearing as to what the actual facts of the allegations are.”
According to Hladik, Fisher’s actions have had a negative impact on the way the VPD is viewed by those he was supposed to protect. “He is a veteran police officer, he worked for the VPD for 29 years, he investigated cases of human trafficking and sexual exploitation, and he really was in a position of trust. He had access to vulnerable women, so him pleading guilty to these charges definitely impacts public trust in the police to be able to do their job of protecting vulnerable women and girls.”
She says women –often victims of sexual assault or rape– don’t trust the police will take their reports seriously, and doubt whether they will hold their attackers accountable. “Seeing these kinds of things in the media and hearing that veteran police officers and engaging in the very same behaviours that they have experienced definitely impacts women’s trust in being able to access the police.”
Going forward the shelter will continue to push the VPD toward implementing federal prostitution laws, which Hladik says the department has been lax on.