The judge who asked a woman in a rape trial why she didn’t ‘keep her knees together’ has just resigned
He told the 19-year-old: ‘Some sex and pain go together, that’s not necessarily a bad thing’
A Canadian federal judge who caused outrage after he asked a woman during a rape trial why she couldn’t just keep her knees together has resigned after a disciplinary council recommendation that he be removed from the bench.
Judge Robin Camp said “unconscious bias” was to blame for his comments, which also included asking the 19-year-old woman why she didn’t “skew her pelvis” to avoid being penetrated and said “some sex and pain sometimes go together … that’s not necessarily a bad thing.” The judge called the woman “the accused” throughout the case and also criticised her for not screaming during the alleged assault.
Camp acquitted the man accused of rape and told him: “I want you to tell your friends, your male friends, that they have to be far more gentle with women. They have to be far more patient. And they have to be very careful. To protect themselves, they have to be very careful.” In a retrial, the man was found not guilty.
Following the uproar over his comments the Judge apologised, but a Canadian Judicial Council found it wasn’t enough. In a report they said: “We find that the judge’s conduct, viewed in its totality and in light of all of its consequences, was so manifestly and profoundly destructive of the concept of impartiality, integrity and independence of the judicial role that public confidence is sufficiently undermined to render the judge incapable of executing the judicial office.”
The Inquiry Committee also said Camp “relied on discredited myths and stereotypes about women and victim-blaming” and that his comments showed “antipathy” toward laws meant to protect vulnerable witnesses. Camp told the council hearing that, coming from South Africa he had a “non existent” knowledge of Canadian criminal law, instead focusing mostly on contract and bankruptcy cases. He also said he hadn’t received training on sexual assault cases.
In a statement on Thursday Judge Camp apologised again “to everyone who was hurt by my comments”. He added: “I thank everyone who was generous and kind to me and my family in the last 15 months, particularly my legal team. I will not be answering media inquiries today.”
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