For­mer judge Robin Camp makes case for re­in­state­ment

The Globe and Mail (Ottawa/Quebec Edition) - - NEWS -

Ex-jus­tice says he hopes to spe­cial­ize in ar­eas other than crim­i­nal law if he is al­lowed to re­join law so­ci­ety

A for­mer judge who asked why a rape com­plainant didn’t re­sist by keep­ing her knees to­gether says he would like to re­join the le­gal pro­fes­sion, telling a Law So­ci­ety of Al­berta re­in­state­ment hear­ing that he still has a great deal to con­trib­ute.

“I have five or 10 good years in me,” Robin Camp, 65, told the three­mem­ber panel on Tues­day.

Mr. Camp said he has no in­ter­est in crim­i­nal law, but hopes to go into cor­po­rate, com­mer­cial, con­struc­tion, oil and gas or en­vi­ron­men­tal prac­tice.

“I hope to build a prac­tice in Al­berta. Canada is my home,” said Mr. Camp, who came to Canada from South Africa nearly two decades ago.

How­ever, he said he is also ex­plor­ing the pos­si­bil­ity of set­ting up shop in the Per­sian Gulf re­gion. He said he does not be­lieve he would need to be a law so­ci­ety mem­ber to do so, but that it would help.

Mr. Camp stepped down from Fed­eral Court in March fol­low­ing a Cana­dian Ju­di­cial Coun­cil rec­om­men­da­tion that he be re­moved from the bench.

Court tran­scripts from the 2014 sex­ual-as­sault trial show that Mr. Camp – a provin­cial court judge in Cal­gary at the time – called the com­plainant “the ac­cused” nu­mer­ous times and asked her why she didn’t re­sist by keep­ing her knees to­gether.

Mr. Camp found the ac­cused, Alexan­der Wagar, not guilty, but the Ap­peal Court or­dered a new trial in which he was again ac­quit­ted.

He said be­ing pub­licly shamed for his remarks has not been a pleas­ant ex­pe­ri­ence.

“I was a car­i­ca­ture. Many peo­ple in Canada re­viled me.”

But he said the train­ing and coun­selling he re­ceived from a Su­pe­rior Court judge, a psy­chol­o­gist and an ex­pert in sex­ual-as­sault law have shaped him into a bet­ter, more sen­si­tive per­son.

“I learned I’m not as clever as I thought I was,” he said. “I learned I am not as kind a per­son as I al­ways imag­ined I was.”

Af­ter he stepped down from the bench, Mr. Camp spent some time con­sult­ing for The Rebel, a far-right web­site.

“I don’t speak for Camp,” Rebel founder Ezra Le­vant said in an e-mailed state­ment on Tues­day.

“He did some work for me back when he was a lawyer. Over sev­eral weeks, we ex­plored whether there could be a role for him at The Rebel. Dur­ing that time, he helped with some ad­min­is­tra­tive work but did no le­gal work. We both agreed the was no role for him at The Rebel and ul­ti­mately, he was never em­ployed by us.”

The panel heard tes­ti­mony from a for­mer col­league on the Fed­eral Court, three lawyers and a le­gal as­sis­tant, who de­scribed Mr. Camp as gen­tle­manly, re­spect­ful, tol­er­ant and ea­ger to learn.

The Law So­ci­ety said it was tak­ing a neu­tral stand on Mr. Camp’s re­in­state­ment and asked no ques­tions dur­ing the hear­ing.

Panelists had a few ques­tions re­gard­ing Mr. Camp’s back­ground and fu­ture plans, but did not grill him on any con­tentious mat­ters.

Jus­tice Richard Bell, a friend and for­mer col­league, said the head­lines call­ing Mr. Camp the “knees-to­gether judge” don’t re­flect the man he knows.

“He’s just a very, very good per­son.”

Ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor Don Thomp­son said he’s ex­pect­ing writ­ten sub­mis­sions to be filed within the next month or so and for a de­ci­sion to be ren­dered at least a month or two af­ter that.

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