Justice Robin Camp loses bid to suspend watchdog's deliberations on his fate

The Federal Court has ruled the Canadian Judicial Council can continue to deliberate the questions of whether Justice Robin Camp can remain on the bench.

Federal Court denies motion to stop Canadian Judicial Council from considering recommendation to remove judge

Federal Court Justice Robin Camp leaves a Canadian Judicial Council inquiry in Calgary last September. The council is currently deliberating whether to recommend Parliament remove him as a federal judge. (Todd Korol/Canadian Press)

The Federal Court has ruled the Canadian Judicial Council can continue to deliberate whether Justice Robin Camp can remain on the bench. 

Deputy Judge Joseph Robertson handed down his decision hours after hearing arguments Thursday.

The judicial council is considering what to do in light of a decision by its inquiry committee to recommend Parliament vote to remove the Federal Court judge from the bench.

In November, the panel of senior judges and lawyers considered Camp's behaviour at a 2014 sexual assault trial, when he was an Alberta provincial court judge. It concluded Camp blamed the 19-year-old complainant for the alleged rape, displayed ignorance and antipathy for sexual assault legislation and was disrespectful to the Crown prosecutor.

At one point during the trial, Camp asked the woman, who testified she'd been raped at a party, "Why couldn't you just keep your knees together?"

All 23 members of the Canadian Judicial Council, made up of chief and associate chief justices from across the country, must now make a formal recommendation to the minister of justice.

Camp has asked to speak directly to the council on several occasions and has been turned down. The council encouraged the judge to submit his arguments in writing.

Wanted to appear in person

Last week, Camp asked the Federal Court to review the decision to deny him that opportunity and this week he asked the same court to force the judicial council to suspend its deliberations until after a decision is made on his first application.

Camp's lawyer, Frank Addario, argued Thursday that written submissions aren't sufficient to ensure the council is fully brought up to speed on the fact that the man who had been accused of rape in the case Camp presided over in 2014 was recently retried and acquitted.

Addario added that if the Federal Court were to order the judicial council to hear Camp's oral arguments after it makes its final decision, the result would be procedural chaos. 

Robertson though, appears to have sided with arguments made by Falguni Debnath, a lawyer for the federal attorney general, who said it was premature to ask the Federal Court for judicial review, seeing as the council had not yet made a final decision. She also argued the public does not want any further delays on the decision of whether Camp is fit to remain a judge.

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