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Disgraced Vancouver detective allegedly gave advice on covering up stabbing: new documents

James Fisher, shown here in 2004, was a celebrated detective with the Vancouver Police Department's Counter Exploitation Unit before he was charges with sexual offences against four young women. (CBC - image credit)
James Fisher, shown here in 2004, was a celebrated detective with the Vancouver Police Department's Counter Exploitation Unit before he was charges with sexual offences against four young women. (CBC - image credit)

This is Part 2 of a two-part series on new revelations concerning the investigation into former Vancouver detective James Fisher. Part 1 is online here.

The first call the troubled young woman said she made after stabbing a man during a drug deal gone wrong was to celebrated Vancouver detective James Fisher.

She later told investigators that she'd driven to Burnaby's Lougheed Centre Mall in June 2015 with her then-boyfriend to sell some leftover suboxone, according to newly released court documents. She said the buyer started a fight with the boyfriend, pulling him out of the car and choking him, so she stabbed the buyer in the ribs, before fleeing in the vehicle.

"I didn't know what to do so I called Jim and he kinda just gave me some advice on how to hide it and get rid of the blood and put a car cover on [the car]," she told investigators with the Vancouver Police Department, according to a transcript of a 2016 interview.

In a later interview, she added, "I don't remember the whole conversation but he told me to burn out the blood with a cigarette and so I did that."

Fisher was charged with obstruction of justice for allegedly providing false information to RCMP officers investigating the stabbing, but the allegations about the phone call were not included in the 2016 indictment on that charge and have not been tested in court.

They're contained within approximately 2,600 pages of documents about an investigation into Fisher's misconduct that were recently obtained by CBC after a four-year legal battle. The documents were all submitted in support of an unsuccessful appeal filed by Reza Moazami, the pimp who'd exploited the young woman.

Her identity is protected by a publication ban, so she is referred to as COM 2 in the documents, marking her as the second of four complainants that Fisher was charged with sexually abusing. All four had been trafficked before they met the Vancouver detective.

COM 2 met Fisher during his investigation into Moazami, a case that would earn him a Community Safety and Crime Prevention Award.

In her interviews with the VPD's professional standards section, COM 2 told officers that the day after the 2015 stabbing, she met up with Fisher to discuss the next steps.

"He said if he's ever learned anything in all the time that he's been a cop it's how to lie to other cops," she said in an interview with police.

Fisher told CBC in an email that any allegations he advised COM 2 on how to hide the vehicle and get rid of the blood, or discussed lying to police officers, "are not true or accurate."

Fisher retired from the VPD in 2017. He would ultimately plead guilty to breach of trust for kissing COM 2 and one count each of sexual exploitation and breach of trust for kissing another young sex trafficking victim. He was sentenced in 2018 to 20 months in jail.

Numerous other charges, including sexual assault against COM 2 and another two women, and obstructing justice in relation to the stabbing, were stayed after the guilty pleas. Those allegations have never been tested in court.

'Obviously he had no respect for the law'

The newly released documents include transcripts of witness interviews and covert recordings of phone calls and meetings, printouts of Fisher's text messages and Facebook conversations, and four reports to Crown counsel.

In addition to the allegations about the stabbing, the documents also reveal COM 2's deep sense of betrayal and shame after Fisher unexpectedly kissed her in December 2015. She'd viewed him as a father figure and had asked him to walk her down the aisle if she ever got married, she told investigators.

The young woman "described the sexual assault as one of the most severe abuses she has ever experienced," police wrote in a 2016 report to Crown counsel.

The report continued: "Fisher had been the one person she trusted. COM 2 felt that Fisher had used her like her dad had, and had broken her heart."

James Fisher, shown here in 2004, won a Community Safety and Crime Prevention Award for his work on the investigation into Reza Moazami's underage prostitution ring.
James Fisher, shown here in 2004, won a Community Safety and Crime Prevention Award for his work on the investigation into Reza Moazami's underage prostitution ring.

James Fisher, shown here in 2004, won a Community Safety and Crime Prevention Award for his work on the investigation into Reza Moazami's underage prostitution ring. (CBC)

COM 2 did not comment on the newly released documents, but her mother agreed to speak about some of the information that has been made public.

She said it was disgusting to hear how Fisher allegedly responded to her daughter's call about the stabbing.

"There are no words," she said. "How do you even make sense of that? This is the person that's supposed to uphold the law who's actually aiding and abetting a crime … Obviously he had no respect for the law, for his role as a police officer, for his fellow police officers, for the legal system."

COM 2 said in her police interviews that she'd told her mother about Fisher kissing her shortly after it happened.

Her mother told CBC she remembered feeling hopeless and desperate for her daughter, who'd struggled with addiction from a young age and had already experienced abuse from multiple men.

She said she understood why her daughter described the kiss as one of the worst acts of abuse she'd experienced.

"I know some things that have happened to her that may seem worse in nature, but the fact is that Jim Fisher was in a position of trust," the mother said.

"When those kinds of things happen at the hands of an officer or someone in authority, when vulnerable people are placed in their care, I think it's worse — absolutely worse — because it's so shocking."

'I haven't told anybody at all'

The documents show that COM 2 signed an agreement to become a police agent in the investigation into Fisher, and he apologized for the kiss in a recorded conversation.

Investigators also arranged a scenario where Fisher was led to believe that Burnaby RCMP had reopened the stabbing investigation.

In an intercepted phone call in November 2016, COM 2 told Fisher "You're the only person I told that I'd stabbed him" and he replied "And, I haven't told anybody at all," according to a transcript.

He later clarified that he had believed before then that she was just a witness to the stabbing.

Even though the obstruction charge was stayed, Provincial Court Judge Robert Hamilton addressed some of Fisher's actions related to the stabbing as evidence of his character in the 2018 reasons for sentencing.

"Mr. Fisher is an officer of the law who took an oath to uphold the laws of the land and keep the peace. He had a confession from [COM 2] that she stabbed the Burnaby victim, and he did nothing with that evidence," Hamilton wrote.

Hamilton's reasons did not include any reference to COM 2's allegations that Fisher advised her on how to hide evidence of the stabbing, and those claims were not included in the agreed statement of facts submitted for sentencing.

Fisher is currently awaiting trial in Port Coquitlam on a charge of breaching an order to comply with the conditions imposed on him as a registered sex offender. Few details have been made public, but according to the B.C. Prosecution Service, he failed to report a secondary address as required.

He declined to comment on the ongoing criminal case.