Advertisement

Alberta ‘knees together’ judge responds: he’s ‘been educated,’ shouldn’t be removed from bench

Click to play video 'Alberta judge pleads case following ‘knees together’ comment' Alberta judge pleads case following ‘knees together’ comment
Justice Robin Camp is now pleading his case after a panel recommended he lose his job for making controversial comments during a sex assault trial. Survivor advocates say Camp's excuse is not good enough. Kim Smith explains – Jan 7, 2017

An Alberta judge who asked a sexual assault complainant why she couldn’t just keep her knees together responded Friday to a Canadian Judicial Council committee’s recommendation that he should lose his job with an argument from his lawyer that education would be better than “harsh punishment.”

“If a man with Justice Camp’s character cannot recalibrate his worldview through education, it is difficult to imagine who could,” reads the submission on his behalf. “Concentrating exclusively on his misconduct and ignoring his rehabilitation, remorse and sincere efforts to learn discounts the possibility for anyone of meaningful evolution on issues of gender bias and sexual stereotypes.”

The submission, signed by his lawyer Frank Addario, suggests “education has a better track record of promoting social change than harsh punishment.”

“Here, the Judge is a good candidate for continued service, because of his antecedents and efforts since the misconduct.

Story continues below advertisement

“Justice Camp has remedied the knowledge deficit that led to his misconduct through education. He has demonstrated remorse. He did not make wilfully sexist comments. He has been educated. He would be an asset to the bench. A sanction short of removal would promote education and rehabilitation in line with the Council’s stated values and simultaneously denounce Justice Camp’s conduct.”

Danielle Aubry with Calgary Communities Against Sexual Abuse said the excuse given by Justice Camp is not good enough for someone who has been practising law for 40 years.

“I would think with all that work history, with all that history of the law, that you would have actually maybe tried to educate yourself,” Aubry said.

“I think that this individual should not be on the bench. There’s other jobs perhaps that federal justice could give him where he’s not at risk of harming someone,” she said.

WATCH BELOW: Justice Robin Camp had until Friday to respond to a Canadian Judicial Council committee’s recommendation that he be removed from the bench after controversial comments made during a sex assault trial. Kim Smith explains his response.

Click to play video 'Alberta ‘knees together’ judge wants to keep his job' Alberta ‘knees together’ judge wants to keep his job
Alberta ‘knees together’ judge wants to keep his job – Jan 6, 2017

The Canadian Judicial Council said it will review Camp’s document in the next two weeks and then make a recommendation on Camp’s future to federal Justice Minister Jody Wilson-Raybould.

Story continues below advertisement

That is expected to take about a month.

READ MORE: A look at the legal career and trial that led to judge Robin Camp controversy

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

Watch below: Global News coverage of the Robin Camp controversy 

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 in November.

“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 unanimous recommendation.

Story continues below advertisement

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

At a hearing earlier in 2016, 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 at the time. “Canadians deserve more from their judges.”

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

With files from The Canadian Press