ALBERTA

Justice Robin Camp Will Face Inquiry Over Sexual Assault Case

01/07/2016 01:55 EST | Updated 01/07/2016 01:59 EST
TRIBUNAL FEDERAL DE CANADÁ/ ANDREW BALFOUR

OTTAWA _ Alberta's justice minister has forced an inquiry into a Federal Court judge who asked a sexual assault complainant why she couldn't keep her knees together.

The Canadian Judicial Council says the inquiry, which is likely to be public, will determine whether Justice Robin Camp should be removed from his job.

An inquiry is held automatically when a provincial justice minister requests one.

The council had already ordered a review panel to examine the judge's decision in a 2014 case when he was a provincial court judge in Calgary.

Camp acquitted a man of sexually assaulting a 19-year-old girl after deciding that the man's version of events was more credible.

Three legal academics who filed a complaint about Camp's decision said he disregarded the law and treated the woman badly.

"Why couldn't you just keep your knees together?''

According to court transcripts, Camp questioned the woman's morals, suggested her attempts to fight off her attacker were feeble and described her as "the accused'' throughout the trial.

He asked her, "Why couldn't you just keep your knees together?'' and said "pain and sex sometimes go together.''

The judge also told the accused after he found him not guilty that all men have to be more gentle and careful with women, and that he should pass the message onto his friends so they wouldn't get into trouble.

The verdict was overturned on appeal and a new trial was ordered.

"It would be truly unfortunate if this has a chilling effect on victims of sexual abuse, making them hesitant to come forward.''

Justice Minister Kathleen Ganley, in a letter to the council last month requesting the inquiry, wrote that Camp's conduct "was so manifestly and profoundly destructive of the concept of impartiality, integrity and independence of the judicial role that public confidence has been sufficiently undermined to render Justice Camp incapable of executing his judicial office.''

Ganley said Camp's comments have been widely circulated in the media "and it would be truly unfortunate if this has a chilling effect on victims of sexual abuse, making them hesitant to come forward.''

The Federal Court has ordered Camp to no longer hear cases until further notice.

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