Canada judge fights to save job after 'victim-blaming' rape trial

(Reuters) - A Canadian federal judge in Alberta who called a sexual assault complainant “the accused” and asked her why she could not “just keep your knees together” should be allowed to keep his job, his lawyers said on Friday.

“Removal is not necessary to preserve public confidence in this case,” lawyers for Justice Robin Camp wrote in a submission to the Canadian Judicial Council, which is considering whether to ask the government to remove Camp from the bench.

During a 2014 sex assault trial, Camp repeatedly referred to the 19-year-old complainant as the “accused” and said she “hasn’t explained why she allowed the sex to happen if she didn’t want it.” His lawyers said in a statement his conduct was the result of “ignorance not animus.”

Camp acquitted the accused but his decision was overturned on appeal and a new trial was ordered.

The 64-year-old judge, who was once head of a domestic violence court in Alberta, “has worked hard to correct his knowledge deficit,” the statement reads.

In November a committee unanimously recommended Camp lose his job because his conduct during the rape trial was based on “discredited myths and stereotypes about women and victim-blaming.”

The judicial council, which reviews complaints against federal judges, will meet later this month to decide whether to recommend that Justice Minister Jody Wilson-Raybould ask Parliament to remove Camp from the bench.

The council has only ever recommended removing two judges since its creation in 1971. Both those judges resigned before the recommendations made it to Canada’s Parliament.

Reporting by Anna Mehler Paperny; Editing by David Gregorio