There’s a rape victim in Canada feeling justice this week. The Calgary Herald reports that a victim was referred to as “the accused” in a sexual assault trial, and also told that, “sometimes sex and pain go together” by the presiding judge who is now being recommended for removal from the bench by an Inquiry Panel of the Canadian Judicial Council (CJC).
Statistics Canada says that one in four women are raped in North America. But justice, is rare with only six out of every 100 victims going to police. The Huffington Post reported that there are 460,000 sexual assaults a year in Canada, 33 of every 1,000 get reported to police, six of those lead to prosecution, and three lead to a conviction. That’s, 1,380 convictions arising from almost half a million crimes.
This means that most victims never experience justice after a crime that perpetrators largely prefer to commit in private. Raping a person in public is rare, because it increases the chances of getting caught. Additionally, the rational and logical and paperwork driven justice system centered on the “innocent until proven otherwise tenet,” unfortunately, favors the perpetrator.
So, the rare thing has happened in Canada this week and an alleged rape victim in Canada is experiencing justice. She didn’t the first time her alleged rapist was tried. Not only did he walk, like most, but the judge in the case asked her, “Why didn’t you just keep your knees together?” in that trial.
He also told her that sex sometimes was painful, implying she just needed to suck it up. He then cautioned the man, Alexander Wagar, who was accused of the crime, “Better give your friends some dating tips son, be careful because the girls are crying rape now, ya know.”
The Notice of Allegations against Judge Camp show that in that instance, what he actually said was the following.
“The law and the way that people approach sexual activity has changed in the last 30 years. I want you to tell your friends, your male friends, that they have to be far more gentle with women. They have to be far more patient. And they have to be very careful. To protect themselves, they have to be very careful….Please tell your friends so that they don’t upset women and so that they [your friends] don’t get into trouble.”
The Notice of Allegations also states that Judge Camp told the female prosecutor trying this sexual assault case that, “I hope you don’t live too long.” He said this in response to the prosecutor’s suggestions that the judge engaged in antiquated thinking. Canadian women referred to that antiquated thinking as “rape myth.”
And all of the victims, all across the land, cried, “Rape myth! Rape myth! Stereotypes! Gender bias! How do we get a judge fired in this country?”
Then what started as an alleged private crime became national news when three ranking law professors in Alberta, the province of jurisdiction in this case, made the public aware of this judge through a formal complaint process.
After a lengthy process, Judge Camp has been recommended for removal, in a swift move of justice for the woman who, after reportedly being humiliated by a man in private, was subjected to further persecution via international scrutiny, over what is probably one of the worst days in her life.
It’s not game over for the judge yet. It’s only been recommended by the CJC. But the one thing about the legal world is that there are steps for every step and rules for every step of the step.
The step Judge Camp is at is the second last. As the Inquisitr previously reported, what happens next is that this recommendation for removal then goes to Parliament, where a removal must pass a vote in both houses.
Most judge’s never make it to the last step. Although, judges do have a way of mysteriously announcing retirement right before the last step ever occurs. If Judge Camp does not mysteriously announce a retirement plan in the coming weeks, and Parliament votes against him, that would make him the first judge in history to be removed by a federal vote.
Most judges don’t want a Parliament vote against them on their career resume. It’s kind of an awkward thing, and in the legal world, at the highest level of awkward. It’s not a good day when the folks that write the laws are considering your fate. Once you reach this point, your only answer ever to the question, “How did you leave your last job?” is, “The country fired me, maybe you’ve heard?”
Most experts expect Judge Camp’s “retirement announcement” is being framed as we speak. He may, on the other hand, think he’s just that awesome, and thinks he has a shot at rolling the dice with putting what is left of his career as a corporate legislator turned domestic violence department head overnight, to Parliament.
The Globe and Mail reports that the recommendation for removal sends a strong message to the legal community, and “Canadians at large” who lack confidence in the justice system. The CJC said that Parliament has spent decades trying to repair the public’s lack of confidence in sexual assault cases, and “the only way that harm could be repaired was for him to go.”
The CJC had harsh words for Judge Camp,
“We conclude that Justice Camp’s conduct is so manifestly and profoundly destructive of the concept of the impartiality and independence of the judicial role that public confidence is sufficiently undermined to render the Judge incapable of executing the judicial office.”
It’s not just the Canadian public that thought Judge Camp was perpetuating rape myth. It was also the panel of the CJC. The Globe and Mail reports the CJC also said,
“His comments are reasonably understood as being disparaging of legislative attempts to remove discredited myths from sexual assault law.”
Only two times prior in Canadian history has the CJC recommended removal, reports the Globe and Mail. Both judges resigned before the vote when to Parliament.
The recommendation for removal was a unanimous decision by the panel. Alberta Justice Minister Kathleen Ganley, who made an initial complaint against the judge, said the recommendation was an “important step forward to reinforce the way our courts should approach sexual assault cases.”
The Globe reports that Kim Stanton, a litigation director for the Women’s Legal Education and Action Fund also said the decision “sends a very strong message to other judges, legal actors, and survivors, that the kind of conduct engaged in by Justice Camp is completely unacceptable.”
The recommendation will first go to Canada’s Attorney General and Justice Minister, Jody Wilson Raybould. If Judge Camp does not resign before then, putting the fate of his career in her hands is a pretty big gamble.
When Jody Wilson-Raybould was appointed in PM Trudeau’s historical “because it’s 2015” Cabinet, the women of Canada cheered. It’s unfortunate for Judge Camp that victimized women happens to be the Justice Minister’s specialty. When she came into the Cabinet, she was very vocal about her concerns for the murdered and missing aboriginal women, and has worked tirelessly at changing legislation for this community.
To know that the Honourable Jody Raybould is fighting for Canadian victims is good for the people of Canada any day of the year. To know that she has a say in what happens next with Judge Camp, if he does not resign first, also makes many Canadians feel good this week.
Many of those are cheering for an alleged rape victim tonight. Her win, was a win for everybody, and the ruling of Judge Camp may well become a game changer in how sexual assault is handled in Canada moving forward, at least at the judiciary behavior level.
But also this week, for her, victims all over Canada are applauding, and thanking one victim for, coming forward. The system, of which Jody Raybould has oversight, is applauding as well. The system needed this.
The optics on the system took a serious hit when Jian Ghomeshi walked. At least it did for any Canadian woman that ever considered calling a hotline or 911 after being the victim of the most intimate crime of them all.
To recap that case, justice was not served, many felt after the Jian Ghomeshi trial. In the Jian Ghomeshi scandal, you would have to rent a bus if you were rounding up and transporting all of the women that claimed he hurt them in an intimate setting.
Falling right in line with the way sexual assault statistics play out in Canada, only 3 made it to trial. Ghomeshi’s lawyer’s brother also reportedly worked with the son of the judge. Nobody said anything. Jian Ghomeshi walked.
That entire case all started when a journalist in Canada gouged the victims for information. He then broke the story to Canada, and the world, that Canada’s radio host might be a serial sexual assault freak.
That reporter splashed the victims and their dirty details all over headlines in what he probably considers is his “career story.” He made money from that.
He got “Toronto famous” for it. This, despite the fact that he got their story wrong, they said under oath. He never apologized. He ran headlines calling the victims deceptive. He did write a book off it, and made more money.
Choking a woman is still a crime in Canada. You could still fill a bus with all of the people that claim Ghomeshi hurt them, and they would have nothing to gain by saying that. Eleven women came forward, reported the Huffington Post, at one stage, and scores of anecdotes have surfaced since the trial.
But not a whole lot of rape victims raising their hands to call and report crimes after that public disaster of justice. It was one that favored the accused who, after a career in the communications field, suddenly had nothing to say and didn’t even take the stand. Many members of the Toronto media where that trial centered were friends with Ghomeshi, or the publicly funded CBC, and did not report the story the way it should have been reported. Their jobs and ambition came before the victims of Canada.
The optics were bad, and systemically bad, at every single level.
The alleged victim in the case that started all of this against Judge Camp has now had to undergo a public trial on the crime twice. There was the first trial, where Judge Camp created this controversy, and ruled that the accused should be acquitted. So he was.
But a retrial was granted in light of all of this, and that trial occurred last month in Calgary, Alberta, Canada, and wrapped last month in Calgary reports the Calgary Sun. Closing arguments occurred at the end of November, and the new judge in that case will provide a ruling on January 31, 2017. Until then, the accused stays in jail.
This week, the system is working, and Canadians may feel faith inch forward. The system worked for one victim. A judge is, probably, forming the narrative of his retirement plan, “The Next Chapter.” And an accused rapist is in jail. This is breaking news.
[Feature Image by Brian A. Jackson/Thinkstock]