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Devon, Alta., town councillor sentenced to 120 days in jail following guilty pleas

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A councillor for the Town of Devon, just southwest of Edmonton, was sentenced Thursday to 120 days in jail for harassing and threatening members of her family.

Anita Fisher pleaded guilty in a Leduc court to multiple charges including criminal harassment and uttering threats.

After being credited for time she's already served, she will have nine more days in jail.

Fisher will also serve 18 months of probation and be required to undergo mandatory counselling. She is not permitted to have contact with her husband or daughter.

Court heard a victim impact statement from Fisher's daughter, who said she was living in fear of her mother and called it a "nightmarish situation."

A statement from Fisher's husband of more than 40 years, Kenneth, said he was "harassed, terrorized, tormented, ridiculed and stalked" by the councillor for two years.

"I love my family. And I want to be a part of their lives," is all Fisher said in court.

A Crown prosecutor noted that Fisher was a "productive member of the community" until "something happened" resulting in a drastic change in behaviour.

The defence lawyer stated that Fisher is in the process of getting "mental health help, which is what she needs."

The judge acknowledged Fisher's need for psychological care but explained the sentence by saying that criminal harassment is "very serious" and "traumatic to individuals and the community."

Fisher, who previously served as the mayor of Devon, has been in custody since September. On Thursday she was still listed as a councillor on the town's website.

In August, Devon councillors approved sanctions against Fisher including banning her from town hall to "protect the health and safety of the staff."

She was also removed from all boards and council events but was allowed to conduct council business virtually.

Last month, Devon's mayor said councillors and town officials have sought guidance from the province on how to "address the concerns around Coun. Fisher."

"We have no individual power to just say, 'We don’t like the way you’re acting, you’re done.' She's an elected official," Jeff Craddock said on Oct. 19.

"This has been a friend of mine for 30-plus years, and I don't want to elaborate on her personal struggles, but my heart goes out to her."

CTV News Edmonton reached out to Craddock Thursday for an update on the situation.

A spokesperson for Alberta's ministry of municipal affairs confirmed Thursday that a town council does not have the authority to remove a councillor and that only the minister or a court can.

With files from CTV News Edmonton's Nav Sangha

 

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