Robin Camp Hearing: Protesters Call For Alberta Judge To Resign

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CALGARY — Jessica Daigle had a message Thursday for a judge whose future on the bench is being considered at a Canadian Judicial Council hearing.

"My fantasy would be Justice (Robin) Camp not only acknowledging the error of his ways but, at this point in time, he really should consider resignation, because the public trust in the justice system is already waning,'' said Daigle, 34, as she held a placard demanding "Dignity For Victims'' outside the Calgary hearing room.

A council committee is hearing from witnesses about Camp and his handling of a sexual assault trial in which he chastised the complainant, questioned her morals and suggested she didn't try hard enough to fight off her alleged attacker.

"When you go to court, they strip you apart, even though you are the victim." —Jessica Daigle

Daigle and her boyfriend, Donald Walker, who was holding a sign that read 'Ignorance Is Not An Excuse,' said they were dismayed by what they had heard.

"So far I've been really disappointed. I understand they are trying to make a case to show that he has reformed in his thinking,'' said Daigle, who described herself as a victim of sexual abuse.

"While I appreciate the education portion of this for someone in his position, he should have had that knowledge to begin with.''

Daigle said her case never went to court after she was warned by a detective about how difficult it is for sexual assault victims during a trial.

"When you go to court, they strip you apart, even though you are the victim. That to me was not something ... I was prepared to deal with.''

Told complainant "pain and sex sometimes go together"

Camp's comments while he was a provincial judge in Calgary in 2014 led the Alberta Appeal Court to order a new trial for the man he acquitted.

Court transcripts show Camp asked the woman why she couldn't just keep her knees together and told her that "pain and sex sometimes go together.''

A law professor, paid by Camp to work with him, said the judge realized his remarks were "insensitive and inappropriate,'' but has since been educated about the historic disadvantage women have faced during trials.

"He was open and sincere and remorseful. He knew he had made some terrible mistakes. He was absolutely open to that learning,'' said Brenda Cossman, director of the Bonham Centre for Sexual Diversity Studies and a professor at the University of Toronto.

'Belittling and trivializing' comments

She said some of Camp's comments were "belittling and trivializing'' the crime of sexual assault, but she believes he's changed.

"I cannot give two or five year warranties on my education, but ... he seemed remorseful, he seemed prepared to admit where he was wrong,'' said Cossman, who was called before the committee by Camp's lawyer.

Dr. Lori Haskell, a psychologist at the University of Toronto who was also paid by Camp for her services, said she has taught courses on the effect of sexual assault on women to groups including judges, police officers and Crown prosecutors.

She said she initially found Camp's comments disturbing and expected he would be "resistant, contemptuous, arrogant.''

robin camp
Justice Robin Camp is under review for comments he made during a sexual assault trial. (Photo: CP)

But that wasn't the case, said Haskell.

"We talked about the fact he made mistakes. He, of course, wanted to apologize ... he wanted to make amends.''

"Is he teachable?'' asked Camp's lawyer.

"Yes, definitely. He's very motivated and people do best when they're motivated.''

Camp has attended the hearing since it began Tuesday and is scheduled to address the hearing Friday.

— Follow @BillGraveland on Twitter

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