Referring to the complainant in a Calgary sexual assault trial as "unsavoury" and asking her "why couldn't you just keep your knees together?" are just two of the statements behind a push to have a Federal Court judge removed from the bench.

While a Provincial Court judge in Calgary, Robin Camp presided over the trial of a man accused of assaulting a 19-year-old woman that lead to a complaint of his conduct by four law professors. 

"The statements were so extreme and they were directed at the complainant, and the errors in law were so significant," said Alice Woolley, a law professor at the University of Calgary and one of the four academics that filed the complaint.

"I just didn't think this is something you would see in any Canadian courtroom in 2015."

Questioning consent

In the letter outlining their concerns, the lawyers cite Camps questioning of rape shield laws that prevent the consideration of a woman's sexual history from influencing a rape trial and his "absolute disregard and disdain for the affirmative definition of consent to sexual touching."

Camp asked the prosecution where it's written that a man must seek consent before engaging in sexual activity and was informed there is ample case law establishing the rule.  

"Well can you show me one of these places it says that there's a some kind of incantation that has to be gone through? Because it's not the way of the birds and the bees," he said.

Camp also questioned why the victim didn't do more the fend off the alleged assault and repeatedly referred to her as "the accused."

Canadian Judicial Council exec on review of judge's behaviour7:06

Deb Tomlinson, with Alberta Sexual Assault Services, says Camp's comments reinforce the rape culture.

"Those are the things that keep women and keep sexual assault victims from reporting to the police or about telling anybody about what has happened to them," she said.


The Alberta Court of Appeal has ordered a new trial for the alleged rape, citing "doubts about the trial judge's understanding of the law governing sexual assaults," and that "sexual stereotypes and stereotypical myths, which
have long since been discredited, may have found their way into the trial judge's judgement."

The appeal court also found that Camp "misapprehended the evidence."

Camp has apologized for his comments. 

The Canadian Judicial Council review is expected to take several months and could result in Camp's removal from the bench.