Quebec judge withdraws from case after comments about weight of sexual assault victim
During trial, Judge Jean-Paul Braun said 17-year-old 'is a bit overweight, but has a pretty face'
A Quebec court judge has withdrawn from a case after coming under fire for comments about the nature of consent and the weight of a victim of sexual assault.
Jean-Paul Braun officially removed himself in a document signed Oct. 26. He did not provide a reason for the decision.
Judge Lori Weitzman will take over the case and will hear sentencing arguments Dec. 14.
Braun faced criticism — including from the province's justice minister — for comments made while overseeing the trial of a taxi driver accused of sexually assaulting a 17-year-old passenger.
In May, Braun found taxi driver Carlo Figaro guilty of sexually assaulting the teen in 2015.
During the trial, Braun commented on the victim's appearance, saying she was "a bit overweight, but she has a pretty face."
Audio recordings of the court proceedings showed that Braun also went back and forth with Crown prosecutor Amélie Rivard, suggesting there are degrees of consent and questioning which actions required Figaro to get the victim's consent.
The judge said it is not the same to consent to kiss someone and to "mettre … la main au panier," a crude way of referring to sexual groping, in French.
Rivard replied that she hadn't come across that distinction in the jurisprudence.
Braun also highlighted the girl's strict religious upbringing and suggested she enjoyed getting the attention from a man who "looks good" and that she had even flirted with him.
Rivard said the girl was simply being polite and that even if she had been flirting, it didn't mean that constituted consent.