Three Vancouver police officers who work in the department’s sex crimes unit are currently being investigated for alleged corruption, a police spokesperson confirms.
Sgt. Aaron Roed said Thursday that concerns about the three officers were raised during the department’s investigation into the actions of disgraced former detective James Fisher while he was a member of the counter-exploitation unit. Those concerns were then “referred to an independent agency for investigation,” he said.
News of the investigation was first raised during an appearance at the B.C. Court of Appeal by a lawyer representing Tamim Albashir as he appeals his convictions for pimping-related crimes.
Marilyn Sandford confirmed she told the court Wednesday that nearly all the officers in the “very small” sex crimes unit were involved with Albashir’s case and that three of them are under investigation “for what appears to be corruption.”
She told the court she did not know more than that and that she was having difficulty accessing files related to the investigation into Albashir’s prostitution operation.
The Office of the Police Complaint Commissioner told Global News three Vancouver police officers are being investigated for misconduct in connection with the James Fisher case.
Last August, Fisher was sentenced to 20 months in jail and two years probation for kissing two female witnesses from a separate prostitution investigation against convicted pimp Michael Bannon. One of the witnesses was 17 at the time.
Fisher pleaded guilty to breach of trust and sexual exploitation.
Since then, two women have filed lawsuits claiming Fisher kissed and groped them while acting as their victim support worker.
Those allegations, which Fisher has denied in court filings, stem from the women’s time helping the Vancouver Police Department investigate convicted pimp Reza Moazami, who had victimized them as underage prostitutes.
Moazami is also appealing his convictions and has come forward with even more allegations against Fisher.
In court documents from his bail hearing in June, Moazami claimed he had evidence Fisher engaged in sexual misconduct with at least six victims and another key witness during and after Moazami’s trial.
Moazami also claimed Fisher was involved in other inappropriate, serious and potentially criminal misconduct with 10 of the 11 victims and yet another key witness.
Those allegations have not been proven or tested in court.
Moazami is arguing his convictions should be stayed or a new trial should be ordered due to Fisher’s actions, which “tarnished” the police investigation and “compromised” the fairness of his initial trial.
— With files from Srushti Gangdev and Robyn Crawford