SA-born judge told woman to 'keep her knees together' in rape trial

2016-09-14 17:59
Judge Robin Camp (Federal Court of Canada)

Judge Robin Camp (Federal Court of Canada)

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Cape Town – South African-born Canadian judge Robin Camp is facing possible removal from the bench for comments he made to the complainant in a 2014 rape case.

Camp’s remarks to the woman, who described how she was raped over a kitchen sink at a house party when she was 19, were misguided and alarming, according to the notice of allegations put to him by the Canadian Judicial Council, a federal body that reviews judges.

Camp was born and educated in South Africa.

“Why didn't you just sink your bottom down into the basin so he couldn't penetrate you?” he asked her.

“Why couldn't you just keep your knees together? ... If she skews her pelvis slightly she can avoid him.

“Sex and pain sometimes go together,” the judge added. “I don't believe there's any talk of an attack really ... There is no real talk of real force.”

“Young women want to have sex, particularly if they're drunk,” Camp stated.

“She knew she was drunk … Is not an onus on her to be more careful?”

The judge acquitted the accused. The verdict was appealed and a new trial would begin in November, CNN reported.

'I was rude and insulting'

The council would decide whether Camp would be removed from the Federal Court, after hearing closing arguments on Monday.

He apologised for his comments, Daily Magazine reported.

“The person I most want to apologise to is the complainant,” he said in his three-hour testimony to the council.

“I can see she’s a fragile personality. Her background has not been easy. Her life has not been easy. And I was rude and insulting. By extension, I have caused unhappiness among other people, mainly women and some men who have been sexually abused. I’m sorry about those.

“Canadians deserve better of their judges. I must apologise to the judiciary. I’ve made the role of each judge in this country more difficult and I’m sorry for that.”

In his closing submission, Camp's lawyer Frank Addario told the inquiry he should keep his job because his misconduct was limited to one case. It was the “result of a knowledge deficit and a failure of education, not animus or bad character”, CBC News reported.

Addario argued that ignorance about the social context surrounding sexual assault law was widespread and there was more public value in the “education and denunciation” of Camp, rather than his termination.

“He will not make statements like this again,” Addario added.

Read more on:    canada  |  crime

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