Alberta judge under review after questioning morals of sex assault complainant

OTTAWA – A Federal Court justice who once asked a sexual assault complainant why she couldn’t keep her knees together is under review by the Canadian Judicial Council.

The council says it will review a 2014 decision made by Justice Robin Camp when he was a provincial court judge in Alberta.

Camp acquitted a man of sexual assault of a 19-year-old woman after deciding that the accused man’s version of the events was more credible.

Camp’s verdict was overturned on appeal and a new trial ordered.

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Alice Woolley, one of three legal academics who filed the complaint, says she’s pleased with the decision of the judicial council.

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The law professor at the University of Calgary is among those now calling for Camp to be removed from his position.

“I was really shocked,” said Woolley. “I know that’s a cliché thing to say, but I honestly would not have expected a judge to have said the things he did. It was not one or two comments, this was a lot of comments throughout the judgement, and it just surprised me. It seemed cruel, and it seemed ignorant – in a way I would not have expected a modern judge to be, especially since the Supreme Court has been really clear on this.”

Court transcripts show that Camp questioned the morals of the complainant and asked her why she just couldn’t keep her knees together, saying her efforts to fight off an attack were ineffectual.

A statement from Federal Court says Camp won’t hear any cases involving sexual conduct, “or any matter that would raise comparable issues” during the investigation.

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Camp is also taking gender sensitivity training on his own time and at his own expense and has released a statement apologizing to the complainant and to all women who might hesitate before reporting a sexual assault.

“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,” said Camp in part of a personal statement released by the Federal Court.

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READ MORE: Why don’t victims or bystanders report sexual assault?

Complainants suggested Camp made an “open mockery” of the law of consent, damaging the reputation of the justice system.

With files from Global News

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