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The Canadian Judicial Council is reviewing a Federal Court judge after four law professors at Dalhousie University and the University of Calgary accused him of being “sexist and disrespectful” towards the teenage complainant.
The council will review the behaviour of Judge Robin Camp during a 2014 case he adjudicated while serving as an Alberta provincial court judge. The case involved the alleged rape of a 19-year-old woman by a Calgary man, whom she accused of sexually assaulting her over a bathroom sink during a house party.
In his questioning of the 19-year-old woman, Justice Camp asked: “Why didn’t you just sink your bottom down into the basin so he couldn’t penetrate you?” and “Why couldn’t you just keep your knees together?”
Camp noted that the alleged victim had asked the accused if he had a condom - a question which he perceived to have “an inescapable conclusion [that] if you have one I'm happy to have sex with you.” He also wondered why the complainant “allowed the sex to happen if she didn’t want it” and suggested her sexual history was worthy of consideration in the case.
At one point he said that the young woman should have been more careful as she was drinking saying, "She knew she was drunk... Is not an onus on her to be more careful?"
The CBC reports that the law professors who submitted the 11-page letter suggested that Justice Camp had an old-fashioned attitude towards rape and sexual assault which placed blame on the victim.
The Federal Court issued a statement concerning the decision by the Canadian Judicial Council to review the comments made by Justice Camp, which included a public apology from Camp.
“I have come to recognize that things that I said and attitudes I displayed during the trial of this matter, and in my decision, caused deep and significant pain to many people,” Justice Camp said in the statement.
He also offered an apology to the complainant in the 2014 case, as well as to “the women who experience feelings of anger, frustration, and despair at hearing of these events.”
Alberta's Court of Appeal has now ordered a new trial for alleged sex offender who was acquitted in the 2014 case.