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'Legs together' ex-judge to ask for return to law practice

Last Updated Nov 14, 2017 at 6:22 am EST

Federal Court Justice Robin Camp leaves a Canadian Judicial Council inquiry in a Calgary hotel, Sept. 9, 2016. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Todd Korol

A former judge who resigned over his treatment of a sexual assault complainant is to make his case today for why he should be allowed to practise law again.

The Law Society of Alberta is to hold a day-long reinstatement hearing for Robin Camp in Calgary.

Camp stepped down from Federal Court in March following a Canadian Judicial Council recommendation that he be removed from the bench.

Court transcripts from the 2014 sexual assault trial show that Camp — a provincial court judge in Calgary at the time — called the complainant “the accused” numerous times.

They show he asked the young woman why she didn’t resist by keeping her knees together.

Camp found the accused, Alexander Wagar, not guilty, but the Appeal Court ordered a new trial that resulted in him being acquitted for a second time.

Camp apologized for his remarks and has undergone training and counselling.

When law society members become judges, they are automatically no longer part of the organization.

The law society said that when a former judge applies to be reinstated as a lawyer, the steps taken depend on whether he or she retired in good standing or was otherwise removed from the bench.

The application may be approved quickly if the person satisfies competency and conduct requirements, but in other cases it’s more complicated.

“If there are concerns around credentials and education or competency to practise law, the individual may be referred to various committees comprised of benchers (law society board members) and volunteers for further review,” the society said in an emailed statement earlier this month.

“The law society may investigate to see if the individual has previous disciplinary proceedings or criminal convictions, and may refer the application to the conduct committee if such concerns are identified.”

Camp, who was born in South Africa, originally had a legal-aid practice which included some criminal law. As he became more senior, he took on mostly litigation cases.

An agreed statement of facts said he was involved in the anti-apartheid movement and represented members of the African National Congress.

After moving to Calgary in 1998, his practice focused mainly on contractual, bankruptcy and trust law, as well as on oil and gas litigation.

He was named an Alberta provincial court judge in 2012, but did not receive training or judicial education on sexual assault law or how to conduct sex assault trials.


Related stories:

Sexual assault education now required for new Ontario judges

Calls for judge to be removed from bench as anger grows over cabbie’s acquittal

Here are some details of the legal career of Federal Court Justice Robin Camp


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