A judge who asked a sexual assault complainant in a trial why she couldn’t keep her knees together is resigning.
In a statement distributed by his lawyer, Justice Robin Camp says he will quit effective March 10.
It comes after the body that oversees the judiciary in Canada said Camp should lose his job.
The Canadian Judicial Council says Justice Robin Camp‘s conduct was “manifestly and profoundly destructive” in regard to the impartiality and integrity of the bench.
The council says its report will now go to the federal justice minister.
The council’s decision supports a recommendation by a disciplinary panel that Camp be removed from the bench for his comments in the original sexual assault trial of Alexander Wagar.
Court transcripts from the 2014 trial in Calgary show that Camp, who was a provincial court judge at the time, called the complainant “the accused” numerous times and told her “pain and sex sometimes go together.”
Camp found Wagar not guilty, but the Appeal Court ordered a new trial. Last month, Wager was acquitted again.
The council says that Canadians expect their judges to know the law, have empathy and to recognize and question any past personal attitudes that might prevent them from acting fairly.
“Judges are expected to demonstrate knowledge of social issues, and awareness of changes in social values, humility, tolerance and respect for others,” the council says in its report released Thursday.
“Those are the very qualities that sustain public confidence in the judiciary. Council decided that the judge’s conduct … was so manifestly and profoundly destructive of the concept of impartiality, integrity and independence of the judicial role that the judge was rendered incapable of executing the judicial office.”
Four of the council’s 23 members did not support the decision. The report says they agreed that Camp’s comments amounted to judicial misconduct, but were in favour of recommending a sanction short of removal.
Camp’s lawyer, Frank Addario, had argued that his client should be allowed to keep his current job as a federal court judge.
“Removal is not necessary to preserve public confidence in this case. Justice Camp’s misconduct was the product of ignorance, not animus. He has worked hard to correct his knowledge deficit,” Addario wrote in a rebuttal submission to the judicial council.
The council notes that Canada’s Constitution says a judge may only be removed from office through a joint resolution of Parliament.
The recommendation moves Camp’s case into uncharted territory if he continues to fight for his job.
There has never been a joint address or joint declaration in Parliament regarding a judge’s removal. Judges have resigned or retired when it has come to that point.