November 30, 2016 12:03 pm
Updated: November 30, 2016 8:18 pm

Judicial committee says ‘knees together’ judge Robin Camp should lose his job

WATCH ABOVE: A Canadian Judicial Council panel report says Justice Robin Camp should be removed from the bench, after he asked an alleged victim of sexual assault why she couldn’t just keep her knees together. As Reid Fiest reports, Camp now has a chance to respond before the Council makes a final decision on his future.

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An inquiry committee of the Canadian Judicial Council says a judge who asked a sexual assault complainant why she couldn’t just keep her knees together should lose his job.

Court transcripts show Robin Camp also called the complainant “the accused” throughout the trial and told her “pain and sex sometimes go together.”

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Camp acquitted Alexander Wager in the 2014 trial, but the verdict was overturned on appeal and a new trial was ordered. Testimony in the retrial wrapped up earlier this month.

“We conclude that Justice Camp’s conduct … was so manifestly and profoundly destructive of the concept of the impartiality, integrity and independence of the judicial role that public confidence is sufficiently undermined to render the judge incapable of executing the judicial office,” the committee said in its recommendation released Wednesday.

“Accordingly, the inquiry committee expresses the unanimous view that a recommendation by council for Justice Camp’s removal is warranted.”

READ MORE: Alberta judge in ‘knees together’ case should be removed from bench: lawyer

The committee said Camp relied on discredited myths and stereotypes about women and victim-blaming during the trial and in his reasons for judgment.

“Accordingly, we find that Justice Camp committed misconduct and placed himself, by his conduct, in a position incompatible with the due execution of the office of judge.”

It’s now up to the Canadian Judicial Council to decide whether the recommendation should be taken to the federal justice minister, who has final say on Camp’s fate.

READ MORE: Travis Vader verdict, Robin Camp controversy: why don’t Alberta judges know the law?

At a hearing earlier this year, Camp apologized for what he called his rude and insulting attitude toward the then-19-year-old woman when he was a provincial court judge in Calgary.

“I was not the good judge I thought I was,” Camp said. “Canadians deserve more from their judges.”

The complainant, who can’t be named under a publication ban, told the hearing that she had contemplated suicide after what happened at the initial trial.

“He made me hate myself and he made me feel like I should have done something … that I was some kind of slut,” she said.

READ MORE: Retired justice weighs in on training for judges amid Alberta Justice Robin Camp hearing

WATCH: It was unanimous. A panel committee of three Superior Court judges and two senior lawyers recommended a federal court justice be benched. Justice Robin Camp made controversial comments in an alleged sex assault trial. As Jill Croteau reports, Camp is one step closer to losing his job. 

The committee heard that Camp had undergone sensitivity training and counselling with a superior court judge, a psychologist and an expert in sexual assault law. He admitted in testimony that he had made mistakes, but said he was willing to learn from them and wanted to remain on the bench.

Camp’s lawyer sought to paint a portrait of a “complex human being” who is humble, tolerant and remorseful.

“He’s fair. He’s accommodating,” Frank Addario said. “He’s motivated to learn and get better.”

Addario said removing Camp would send the wrong message to other judges who seek to improve themselves.

READ MORE: Lawyer to argue ignorance no basis for removal of Justice Robin Camp

But Camp’s efforts after the trial don’t make up for his comments, the committee said.

“In these circumstances, the impact of an after-the-fact commitment to education and reform as an adequate remedial measure is significantly diminished.”

Watch below: Global News coverage of the Robin Camp controversy 

© 2016 The Canadian Press

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