terça-feira, 10 de novembro de 2015

Judge reviewed after asking sex assault complainant

 

Judge reviewed after asking sex assault complainant, ‘Why couldn’t you just keep your knees together?’

The conduct of former Calgary provincial court judge Robin Camp, who was appointed in June to the Federal Court in Ottawa, is being reviewed by the Canadian Judicial Council.
The council is investigating comments Camp made in acquitting a Calgary man, Alexander Scott Wagar, of sexual assault on Sept 9, 2014.
That ruling was overturned by the Alberta Court of Appeal last month with strong comments about Camp’s handling of the case.
Imagine what she felt like in court. She’s a 19-year-old homeless woman. It’s not a good way to treat somebody
At particular issue were questions Camp asked the complainant during trial, such as: “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 indicated that she had not explained “Why she allowed the sex to happen if she didn’t want it?” and noted that when she asked the accused if he had a condom that was “an inescapable conclusion (that) if you have one I’m happy to have sex with you.”
Camp has since apologized for the remarks.
The Federal Court said in a statement issued on Monday that it welcomes the council’s review and is pleased that Camp is fully co-operating with that review.
In the meantime, it said, no new cases will be assigned to Camp that involve issues of sexual conduct or any matter that would raise comparable issues. As well, Camp has agreed to recuse himself from any such cases currently assigned to him.
The Federal Court also said Camp has volunteered to enrol in gender sensitivity counselling, and he will ensure that he does not make similar comments in the future.
Camp has provided the court with an apology.
“I have come to recognize that things that I said and attitudes I displayed during the trial of this matter, and in my decision, caused deep and significant pain to many people,” he wrote. “My sincere apology goes out, in the first place, to the young woman who was the complainant in the matter.
We are also persuaded that sexual stereotypes and stereotypical myths, which have long since been discredited, may have found their way into the trial judge’s judgment. There were also instances where the trial judge misapprehended the evidence
“I also apologize to the women who experience feelings of anger, frustration and despair at hearing of these events. I am deeply troubled that things that I said would hurt the innocent. 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.”
Alice Woolley, professor of law at the University of Calgary, called Camp’s comments to the complainant “grotesque” and said his apology should have been to all Canadians, not just women.
“The comments were made to her directly in court, not just in the decision,” said Woolley, who was heavily involved in filing the complaint and turning over transcripts to the council.
“Imagine what she felt like in court. She’s a 19-year-old homeless woman. It’s not a good way to treat somebody.”
The Alberta Court of Appeal said in its decision released Oct. 27 that Camp made serious legal errors and ordered a new trial.
“We are satisfied that the trial judge’s comments throughout the proceedings and in his reasons gave rise to doubts about the trial judge’s understanding of the law governing sexual assaults and in particular, the meaning of consent and restrictions on evidence of the complainant’s sexual activity imposed by (a section of the Criminal Code),” Justice Brian O’Ferrall wrote for the court of appeal.
“We are also persuaded that sexual stereotypes and stereotypical myths, which have long since been discredited, may have found their way into the trial judge’s judgment. There were also instances where the trial judge misapprehended the evidence.”
The Court of Appeal said, ordinarily, it would be reluctant to proceed with a Crown appeal of an acquittal without hearing from the respondent. However, in the unusual circumstances of this case, where the respondent has shown no interest in this appeal despite repeated efforts by the Crown and others to communicate to the respondent the seriousness of this matter, it decided to proceed.
(Published by National Post - November 10, 2015)

0 comentários:

Postar um comentário