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article imageCalgary: Federal Court judge faces review in sex assault case

By Megan Hamilton     Nov 11, 2015 in World
Calgary - A former Calgary provincial court judge faces disciplinary action that may range from reprimand to possible dismissal for comments he made to an alleged victim during a sexual assault trial last year, according to the Canadian Judicial Council.
Some say it's unlikely that the case involving former provincial court judge Robin Camp, who is now a Federal Court Justice, will reach as high as Parliament, The Calgary Herald reports.
Camp is being investigated by the council because of comments he made in acquitting Alexander Scott Wagar of sexual assault in Sept. 2014. The ruling was overturned last month by the Alberta Court of Appeal amid much concern regarding Camp's handling of the case.
The issue that caused the most concern centered around questions Camp asked the alleged victim, The Calgary Herald reports here. The questions included: "Why didn't you just sink your bottom down into the basin so he couldn't penetrate you?" and "Why couldn't you just keep your knees together?"
He also told the alleged victim that she hadn't explained "Why she allowed the sex to happen if she didn't want it?" He continued in that vein by saying that by asking the assailant if he had a condom it was "an inescapable conclusion (that) if you have one I'm happy to have sex with you."
The review was sparked by a complaint from four law professors at Dalhousie University and the University of Calgary, CBC News reports. In the 11-page complaint, the professors, Elaine Craig, Jocelyn Downie, Jennifer Koshan, and Alice Woolley, described Camp as "dismissive, if not contemptuous" regarding sexual assault laws and rules relating to evidence.
The complaint also alleges that he showed disregard and disdain for the rape shield provisions that are part of the Criminal Code. which provides the legal definition of consent to sexual touching, along with other Criminal Code provisions.
In a statement, the Federal Court noted that Camp was cooperating with the review and added that he won't be assigned any new cases regarding sexual conduct.
Alberta's Court of Appeal has ordered a new trial for Wagar, CBC News reports.
Camp also apologized before the court, The National Post reports. He has volunteered to enroll in gender sensitivity counseling.
Camp also apologized to women who were upset because of the remarks he made during the trial.
"I am deeply troubled that things that I said would hurt the innocent," he wrote. "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."
Woolley, a law professor at the University of Calgary, described Camp's comments to the alleged victim as "grotesque" and added that he should have apologized to all Canadians, not just women. She noted that the comments were made to the woman while she was in court, not just in the decision.
"Imagine what she felt like in court," Woolley said. "She's a 19-year-old homeless woman. It's not a good way to treat somebody."
In its' decision released in late Oct., the Court of Appeal said that Camp made serious legal errors and ordered a new trial, CBC News reports.
The review by the Canadian Judicial Council is expected to take several months.
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