ALBERTA

Robin Camp, Alberta Judge, 'Truly Sorry' About 'Keep Your Knees Together' Comment

11/12/2015 12:34 EST
TRIBUNAL FEDERAL DE CANADÁ/ ANDREW BALFOUR

An Alberta federal court judge has apologized for telling a sexual assault complainant to "keep your knees together."

"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 Robin Camp said in a statement released by the Federal Court of Canada on Tuesday.

On Monday, the Canadian Judicial Council announced that it will review a 2014 decision made by Camp when he was a provincial court judge in Calgary.

His verdict was overturned on appeal, making way for a new trial.

In June 2014, Camp acquitted a man of sexual assault in a case involving a 19-year-old woman, deciding that the accused's version of events was more credible.

During the trial, Camp repeatedly referred to the alleged victim as "the accused," and described her as "unsavoury."

"Why couldn't you just keep your knees together?" Camp asked her, adding that her attempt to fight off her attacker sounded "very ineffectual." He also added that "sex and pain sometimes go together, that's not necessarily a bad thing."

Gender-sensitivity training

The Federal Court wrote that Camp is "fully co-operating" with the review, and that no cases involving issues of sexual conduct will be assigned to him for the time being.

Camp has also volunteered to undergo gender-sensitivity training on his own time and at his own expense.

Former justice minister Peter MacKay appointed Camp to the Federal Court in June. The position comes with a $310,000 salary.

Read Justice Camp's full statement:

“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. My sincere apology goes out, in the first place, to the young woman who was the complainant in the matter.

I also apologize to the women who experience feelings of anger, frustration and despair at hearing of these events. I am deeply troubled that things that I said would hurt the innocent. In this regard, I am speaking particularly to those who hesitate to come forward to report abuse of any kind and who are reluctant to give evidence about abuse, sexual or otherwise. To the extent that what I have said discourages any person from reporting abuse, or from testifying about it, I am truly sorry. I will do all in my power to learn from this and to never repeat these mistakes.”

With files from The Canadian Press

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