Another Judge Is Being Punished For Irresponsibly Handling A Rape Case

by Alexia LaFata
Andrew Balfour/Federal Court of Canada

Last month, Judge Aaron Persky was removed from hearing a sexual assault case due to the way he irresponsibly handled the Brock Turner case. Now, a harrowing case of victim-blaming has landed another judge in hot water.

Canadian judge Robin Camp, the judge of a 2014 trial in which a man named Scott Wagar was accused of raping a 19-year-old girl over a sink at a house party, might lose his job for the comments he made during the trial.

He asked her "Why couldn't you just keep your knees together?" and "Why didn't you just sink your bottom down into the basin so he couldn't penetrate you?" He also kept referring to her as "the accused."

Camp had acquitted Wagar of the crime, but Alberta's Court of Appeal overturned his ruling in 2015 and ordered a new trial. Wagar was rearrested in May.

Camp has not heard any cases since the Wagar rape case. Now, he's facing a week-long hearing in September, where a panel of judges and lawyers will determine if he'll be allowed to remain on the bench of Federal Court judges.

Since the Wagar case, he has undergone training and counseling with a psychologist, judge and expert on sexual assault. His training, he said, aimed to help him "interrogat[e] his beliefs and improv[e] his understanding of the law, the social context of sexual violence and the psychological impact of sexual assault."

He agrees he made insensitive and inappropriate comments during that trial, but he wants to keep his job and believes he's been made into a better judge.

I guess we'll see what happens. Regardless, it's nice to see that judges are being punished for their biases in sexual assault cases.

Citations: Robin Camp, who berated sex assault complainant, says counselling will make him a better judge (CBC News)