Special prosecutor assigned to advise RCMP in investigation of Vancouver police officers linked to James Fisher probe

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      The long-running saga involving a convicted senior VPD cop took a new turn today.

      The B.C. Prosecution Service announced that Vancouver lawyer Joseph Doyle has been appointed in 2017 as a special prosecutor to advise and assist the Mounties in their investigation of Vancouver police officers.

      Earlier at the request of the police complaint commissioner, B.C.'s director of police services asked the Alberta RCMP to review the VPD's probe of former detective James Fisher.

      Doyle told the assistant deputy attorney general in charge of criminal justice, Peter Juk, that he felt the officers' conduct did not meet the threshold for laying criminal charges.

      "The announcement of the appointment of the Special Prosecutor and his conclusions regarding charge assessment have been delayed, as several related matters are pending, including the conduct investigation under the Police Act," the B.C. Prosecution Service said in a statement. "Neither the BCPS nor the Special Prosecutor will be releasing additional information or commenting further while related matters are outstanding. Once all related matters are concluded, the Special Prosecutor will release a clear statement summarizing his conclusions."

      In 2018, Fisher pleaded guilty to two counts of breach of trust and one count of sexual exploitation for his activities as a member of the counter exploitation unit. He was sentenced to 20 months in jail.

      The guilty plea came after Crown and Fisher submitted an agreed-upon statement of facts in court—and the Crown did not proceed with nine other charges.

      In a November B.C. Court of Appeal hearing, lawyer Marilyn Sandford claimed that three VPD officers in Fisher's former unit were being investigated for corruption, according to CBC reporter Bethany Lindsay.

      The VPD later confirmed this.

      Back in 2014, Fisher won a community safety and crime prevention award from the B.C. government.

      This came for his role in bringing about convictions of a pimp named Reza Moazami, who was sentenced to more than 20 years.

      In 2014, then attorney general Suzanne Anton presented James Fisher with a community safety and crime prevention award.

      In an appeal, Moazami's legal team stated last year that the Crown's disclosures showed that Fisher engaged in "inappropriate sexual misconduct with at least six of the victims and another key witness".

      These allegations have not been proven in court.

      The special prosecutor, Doyle, is a senior Vancouver lawyer.

      He represented now-deceased RCMP sergeant Pierre Lemaitre before the Braidwood Commission of Inquiry into the 2007 death of Robert Dziekanski at Vancouver International Airport.

      Lemaitre's widow Sheila later filed a lawsuit against the federal and provincial governments, alleging that they made her husband, who committed suicide, a scapegoat.

      None of her allegations were proven in court and the proceeding was dismissed without a hearing with the consent of all parties. 

      Anyone in B.C. who is in distress can call 1-800-SUICIDE (1-800-784-2433) for help. There's also a mental-health support line (604-310-6789) and a seniors distress line (604-872-1234). In addition, there is an online chat service for youths from noon to 1 a.m. at www.youthinbc.com/. Adults can have access to an online chat service over the same hours at www.crisiscentrechat.ca/.