VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) – A former Vancouver police detective who pleaded guilty to charges of sexual exploitation and breach of trust has been sentenced to almost two years in jail and must register as a sex offender.
James Fisher must also serve two years probation for kissing two young women who were witnesses in a human trafficking investigation.
The judge sided with the prosecutor who sought a 20-month sentence.
Gordon Comer with the BC Prosecution Service says that decision might be appealed by Fisher who was hoping for no jail time.
“Whether that’s granted is of course up to the Court of Appeal and it is an onerous test to set aside a sentence on appeal. The defence had advocated for a conditional sentence to be served in the community. An appeal is always open to the defence.”
Comer says the 29-year veteran of the force will be on the offender registry at least ten years.
“This was found to be an egregious breach of trust that had a devastating impact on the victims and was a profound violation of the victims and of the accused’s duty as a police officer…. The sentencing judge stated his decision should send a clear message of condemnation. The accused had a duty to protect girls and young women. Instead, Mr. Fisher sexually exploited two vulnerable victims.”
Crisis centre worker Sophia Hladik who’s also an advocate with Vancouver Rape Relief and Women’s Shelter says Fisher further victimized women already being sexually exploited by two pimps.
“And both of them expressed they saw him as a father figure and that they really trusted him to protect them and support them as they tried to exist prostitution and so, to have been then exploited by that very man that they trusted so much does deeply impact you. Especially when you’re a young, vulnerable woman looking for a way to get out of a life of violence. So these two –now women– one of them was a 17-year-old girl at the time, were being sexually exploited by two pimps and that’s how he forged a relationship with them.”
When asked if she believes Fisher is sorry for what he did, Hladik says he needed to be held accountable by the criminal justice system.
“We don’t advocate for particular harsh sentencing. Jim Fisher had suffered a lot already in the court of public opinion and the fact that he was held accountable is what’s most important.”
The 29-year member of the VPD quit the force shortly after he was charged in 2016.