Canada judge facing ouster over rape trial comments resigns

TORONTO (Reuters) - A Canadian judge who asked the complainant in a sex assault trial why she could not “just keep your knees together”

announced his resignation Thursday, hours after an oversight body said he should lose his job.

“Effective March 10, 2017 I will resign as a member of the Federal Court of Canada,” reads a statement from Alberta Judge Robin Camp, released by his lawyer. “I would like to express my sincere apology to everyone who was hurt by my comments.”

The Canadian Judicial Council said in a review released on Thursday that Camp’s conduct during a 2014 sex assault trial was so “manifestly and profoundly destructive” toward judicial impartiality that he could not remain in office.

Had Camp not resigned of his own accord he could have been the first federal judge to be removed by Canada’s Parliament.

According to transcripts, Camp repeatedly referred to the 19-year-old complainant as the “accused” during the trial, and said in his ruling she “hasn’t explained why she allowed the sex to happen if she didn’t want it.”

Camp acquitted the accused but his decision was overturned on appeal. The defendant, Alexander Wagar, was acquitted in January following a second trial.

In a January submission, Camp’s lawyers argued that his conduct stemmed from “ignorance, not animus” and that he has since educated himself on sexual assault law and gender sensitivity.

That “misses the most serious point,” the judicial council’s report said on Thursday, noting that Camp’s comments “were antithetical to the contemporary values of our judicial system”.

This was only the third time the judicial council has recommended a judge be removed since it was created in 1971. In

all three cases, the judges have resigned before being ousted.

Reporting by Anna Mehler Paperny; Editing by Bernard Orr