Ex-judge applies for law licence
Resigned after ‘ knees together’ controversy
CALGARY• Saying he’s a changed man since questioning the conduct of a sexual- assault complainant, former judge Robin Camp said Tuesday he should be allowed to return to life as a lawyer.
Camp, who resigned as a federal judge last March in the face of expulsion for asking a 19- year- old woman in 2014 why she didn’t “keep her knees together” during an alleged sexual assault, told an Alberta Law Society panel that he’s grown from the experience, aided by counselling.
“I learned I wasn’t as clever as I thought I was, I learned there was a whole area of life I knew nothing about ... I learned kindness,” said the South Africa-born Camp, 65.
“I still have contributions to make as a lawyer, I have a good five or 10 years in me.”
He also said he wanted to deliver a personal apology to the woman in the contentious case but was advised not to.
The Canadian Judicial Council had recommended Camp be removed from the bench for making a number of controversial statements in the Calgary sexual-assault trial, including asking why the complainant didn’t push her bottom into a bathroom sink to avoid intercourse with the accused.
He also referred to her several times as “the accused.”
Those comments led to the retrial of accused Alexander Wager, who was subsequently acquitted a second time last January.
After he stepped down from the bench, Camp spent some time consulting for The Rebel, but was ultimately not employed by the online conservative website.
Five witnesses testified before the three- member panel that Camp was a competent legal practitioner and man of upstanding character.
Camp told the panel if reinstated as a lawyer, he’d prefer to practise commercial, corporate and environmental law, and ruled out the criminal field.
A law society lawyer asked Camp and the witnesses no questions, adding the body is neutral on the matter.
But society executive director Don Thompson said the case would be weighed carefully, though admitted the body has no guidelines on handling it.
“No one has any recollections of a judge returning to practise under these circumstances,” said Thompson.
The main question confronting the society, he said, is whether reinstating Camp “will bring the legal profession into disrepute.”
Camp’s attorney Alain Hepner and the law society will produce legal submissions over the next month with a decision on reinstatement coming in the new year.
Former judge Robin Camp walks into a hearing Tuesday at the Law Society of Alberta offices in Calgary where he is asking for reinstatement as a lawyer.