Coalition Intervenes in inquiry into Justice Robin Camp’s conduct during sexual assault trial

Halifax, NS – On Friday, July 8, 2016, a national coalition of women’s organizations including Avalon Sexual Assault Centre was granted intervener status in the inquiry into the conduct of Justice Robin Camp while he presided over a sexual assault trial in Alberta in 2014. This case made national headlines when Justice Camp asked the complainant, an Indigenous woman who was 19 years old and homeless at the time of the assault, “Why couldn’t you just keep your knees together?” He also referred to her repeatedly as “the accused,” and remarked that “sex and pain sometimes go together […] that’s not necessarily a bad thing” and that “young wom[e]n want to have sex, particularly if they are drunk.”

Avalon is proud to be partnering with Ending Vi  lence Association of British Columbia (EVA BC), the Institute for the Advancement of Aboriginal Women (IAAW), Metropolitan Action Committee on Violence Against Women and Children (METRAC), the Women’s Legal Education and Action Fund (LEAF), and West Coast LEAF to intervene on this case. The Canadian Judicial Council established the inquiry as a result of a complaint lodged by the Attorney General of Alberta, who is calling for Justice Camp’s removal from the office of Federal Court judge, a position to which he was later appointed.

“The comments made by Justice Camp are counter to sexual assault and consent laws, and contribute to systemic sexual assault myths, gender stereotypes, racism and marginalization,” says Jackie Stevens, Executive Director of Avalon Sexual Assault Centre. “Comments like these from a judge in a sexual assault tr al further undermine the public’s confidence in how the criminal justice system handles sexual assault cases and treats victims of sexualized violence and abuse. The purpose of the coalition acquiring intervenor status is to ensure that people seeking to report sexual assault/abuse crimes know that these types of actions in the court system are not tolerated or condoned and that groups across the country are working to improve the legal process for victims of sexualized violence.”

The Canadian Judicial Council’s Notice of Allegations states that Justice Camp engaged in stereotypical assumptions about the behavior of sexual assault complainants, victim‐blaming, and trivialized the assault allegations. The coalition will make arguments about the impact of Justice Camp’s behaviour on survivors and on public attitudes about sexual assault, and about the legal protections for sexual assault complainants that Justice Camp allegedly ignored.

The hearing into Justice Camp’s conduct will take place in Calgary starting September 6th.

 

About Avalon Sexual Assault Centre

The Avalon Sexual Assault Centre is a feminist organization working to eliminate sexual assault/abuse, and to change the current socio‐political culture that fosters sexism, social injustice and other forms of oppression.