Federal Court judge Robin Camp, who asked an alleged rape victim in court why she couldn’t just keep her “knees together,” made the admission during his trial at the Canadian Judicial Council which could remove him from the bench.
“My colleagues knew my knowledge of Canadian law was very minimal. It was non-existent,” Camp said at his trial, according to CNN
“I think it’s become apparent that I didn’t know what I didn’t know,” Camp said, adding, “Please remember I wasn't in this country through the 1960s, '70s and '80s.”
Camp, 64, was born in South Africa and moved to Calgary in 1998.
‘Why couldn’t you just keep your knees together?’
Camp, who has since apologised for his conduct, was an Alberta provincial court judge when he heard the 19-year-old’s case in 2014.
He later acquitted the accused man, determining his version of what happened was more credible.
According to records of the trial
, Camp said in court: “Why couldn’t you just keep your knees together?”
The woman who said she was raped over a bathroom sink during a house party was also asked why she didn’t “skew her pelvis” or push her buttocks into the sink to avoid penetration.
The judge also commented that young women “want to have sex, particularly if they’re drunk.”
He also said at a different time that “Some sex and pain sometimes go together” and that this is “not necessarily a bad thing”.
When he acquitted the man accused of rape, he said: “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.”
“You’ve got to be very sure that the girl wants you to do it. Please tell your friends so that they don’t upset women and so that they don’t get into trouble. We’re far more protective of women – young women and older women – than we used to be and that’s the way it should be,” he said.
‘Rude and insulting’
During his trial, Camp apologised to the woman saying his comments were “rude and insulting”.
According to the Calgary Sun
, Camp said that he most wanted to apologise to the woman before he was cross-examined.
“Her background has not been easy, her life has not been easy, I was rude and insulting,” Camp said.
He added that he “caused unhappiness among some people, mostly women but some men who have been sexually abused.”
“Canadians deserve better of their judges,” he said. “I must apologize to the judiciary of this country.”
According to the Toronto Sun
, Camp admitted he may have prejudices he wasn’t conscious about.
“At some level that I wasn’t aware of, I was subject to prejudice ... the prejudice that all women behave the same way and they should resist,” Camp said in the hearings.
If allowed to continue his judgeship, he vowed to avoid making the same mistakes.
“I can’t guarantee that I’m not prejudiced in other areas, but what I have learned is to be constantly vigilant ... and to ask for help when I need it,” he said. “I was and will always be vigilant ... perfect I will never be,” he said.
A Canadian judge who’s in danger of being removed from the bench for his controversial conduct in a rape trial has conceded that he had “non-existent” criminal law knowledge when the case was heard by his court.