Alberta judge apologizes for part of his letter

Judge John McClung of Alberta has issued an apology, of sorts, for part of a letter he wrote criticizing a Supreme Court of Canada justice.

In a letter to The National Post on Friday, McClung said Justice Claire L'Heureux-Dube engaged in "personal invective" in the high court's decision.

"The personal convictions of the judge, delivered again from her judicial chair, could provide a plausible explanation for the disparate (and growing) number of male suicides being reported in the province of Quebec," McClung wrote.

L'Heureux-Dube's husband committed suicide. McClung said he was unaware of that tragedy.

McClung's acquittal of Steve Ewanchuk drew criticism when McClung said Ewanchuk's behaviour was "far less criminal than hormonal." The judge also said the victim, a 17-year-old girl, "did not present herself (to Ewanchuk) in a bonnet and crinolines."

The victim was wearing shorts and a T-shirt.

In her decision, L'Heureux-Dube said McClung's decision would have given men a blank cheque to commit sexual assault at will.

"According to this analysis," she wrote, "a man would be free from criminal responsibility for having non-consensual sexual activity whenever he cannot control his hormonal urges."

The Ewanchuk case has resulted in two unprecedented events: the Supreme Court of Canada directly convicted Ewanchuk, an extremely rare occurrence; and now one judge is publicly criticizing another.

McClung, meanwhile, added to the controversial comments he made in the sexual assault case.

In an interview published in Saturday's National Post, McClung says the 17-year-old sexual assault victim was hardly, in his words, "lost on her way home from a nunnery."

McClung still maintains the Supreme Court was wrong to overturn his ruling.