March 9, 2017 2:26 pm
Updated: March 9, 2017 9:09 pm

‘Knees together’ judge resigns after judicial council suggests removal

WATCH ABOVE: Justice Minister Jody Wilson-Raybould reacts to the resignation of Justice Robin Camp.


A judge who asked a sexual assault complainant in a trial why she couldn’t keep her knees together is resigning.

In a statement distributed by his lawyer, Justice Robin Camp says he will quit effective March 10.

WATCH: It was judgement day for a judge who made controversial comments during a sex assault trial. It was recommended Justice Robin Camp be removed from the bench. But as Jill Croteau reports, he resigned.

The body that oversees the judiciary in Canada said earlier on Thursday that Camp should lose his job. The Canadian Judicial Council said Camp‘s conduct was “manifestly and profoundly destructive” in regard to the impartiality and integrity of the bench.

The council’s report was sent to the federal justice minister.

READ MORE: Sex assault victim says courts are making victims afraid to come forward

The council’s decision supported a recommendation by a disciplinary panel that Camp be removed from the bench for his comments in the original sexual assault trial of Alexander Wagar.

Court transcripts from the 2014 trial in Calgary show that Camp, who was a provincial court judge at the time, called the complainant “the accused” numerous times and told her “pain and sex sometimes go together.”

WATCH: Alberta Justice Robin Camp apologizes for comments in sex assault case

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Camp found Wagar not guilty, but the Appeal Court ordered a new trial. Last month, Wager was acquitted again.

The council says that Canadians expect their judges to know the law, have empathy and to recognize and question any past personal attitudes that might prevent them from acting fairly.

“Judges are expected to demonstrate knowledge of social issues, and awareness of changes in social values, humility, tolerance and respect for others,” the council says in its report released Thursday.

“Those are the very qualities that sustain public confidence in the judiciary. Council decided that the judge’s conduct … was so manifestly and profoundly destructive of the concept of impartiality, integrity and independence of the judicial role that the judge was rendered incapable of executing the judicial office.”

Four of the council’s 23 members did not support the decision. The report says they agreed that Camp’s comments amounted to judicial misconduct, but were in favour of recommending a sanction short of removal.

WATCH: Justice Robin Camp testifies in his own defence

The council noted that Canada’s Constitution says a judge may only be removed from office through a joint resolution of Parliament.

Justice Minister Jody Wilson-Raybould attempted to get unanimous consent in the House of Commons to that effect early Thursday afternoon, but it did not pass as the Conservatives had not been advised in advance.

Camp’s resignation came less than an hour later.

Interim Conservative Leader Rona Ambrose issued a statement in response, welcoming the council’s decision.

“This issue underscores the importance of my Private Member’s Bill, the JUST Act, which is a common sense approach designed to hold the Canadian judiciary responsible for the ongoing training of its judges on the application of law in sexual assault trials,” Ambrose said.

“Unfortunately there is not enough accountability on the part of the judiciary in ensuring that judges have the updated training Canadians expect them to have. This needs to change.”

Watch below: Questions about how much training judges receive before hearing sexual assault cases were raised by Robin Camp’s comments. Interim Leader of the Opposition, Rona Ambrose, is introducing a Private Member’s Bill to make training mandatory. Here’s part of Dawna Friesen’s exclusive interview with her.

-With files from Global News

© 2017 The Canadian Press

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