Friday 27 November 2015

Terrible judges (Part 2)

Proper judicial conduct is predicated on good faith decision-making.  It was never intended to include bad-faith decision-making where a judge knowingly and deliberately disregards the facts and law of a case and misbehaves in court.  This is properly the subject of disciplinary review, irrespective of whether it is correctable on appeal.  An egregious error is also misconduct, since its nature and/or magnitude presupposes that a judge acted wilfully, or that he is incompetent.

The most serious misconduct by judges is that which is the least likely to subject them to discipline. It is not what they do in their private lives off the bench, but what they do on the bench in the course of litigation.  The obvious image of a bad judge is the judge who runs his courtroom as if he owns it and who looks down from his elevated bench and also treats litigants and their lawyers and paralegals representing their clients in an imperious and abusive fashion.  Such bad conduct includes;

intimidation by any means-- condescending looks, gestures or comments-- 
 expressing or instigating anger, outrage or shock--obvious impatience--
 rushing the proceedings--frequent checks of the time--appearing distressed or uncomfortable--raising unrelated, irrelevant or confusing issues--insulting     witnesses and/or defendant’s representatives--ignorance of the law.                                                                                                                                                                       

This article is about one of these bad judges.

Robin Camp A judge in Alberta, Canada

This man was named an Alberta provincial court judge in 2012, with just 13 years at the provincial bar as a lawyer following decades as a lawyer in South Africa and Botswana. Three years later, (last June 26) he was promoted again, to the Federal Court of Canada.

This judge is not only obnoxious; he is also stupid and incompetent. The trial he presided over in the lower court involving the alleged rape of a young woman by Alexander Wagar of Calgary was a shambles as far as trials go. What follows are some of the stupid remarks this dummy made during Wagar’s trial.                                                                                                      

According to the transcripts, Camp said that since the victim was drunk, there was an “onus on her to be more careful.” He referred to the alleged rape as [a form of] misbehavior on the part of the accused. Rape is a crime, not just a form of misbehavior.

The dummy then asked this rhetorical question. “If the homeless 19-year-old victim had truly been frightened of her 240-lb. alleged rapist as events unfolded in a bathroom on December, 2011, wouldn’t she have screamed?”

Many victims of rape don’t scream while being raped, especially when they are threatened with severe consequences if they scream.                                    

This stupid judge then remarked to the prosecutor, “  Perhaps the accused had been a little rough, but sex is very often a challenge.” Would this buffoon have said this if he was raped up his ass by a huge man?”                  

And when the victim said the experience had been physically painful, Camp countered that a bit of vaginal pain was perfectly natural.  Hey stupid man,  Is a bit of anal pain while being raped up the ass also perfectly natural?

Get ready for his next stupid statement with respect to the alleged rape of the victim. “Sex and pain sometimes go together. That’s not necessarily a bad thing” unquote  It is if you are being raped.

The most notable example of stupidity was Camp directly telling the alleged victim that if she didn’t want to be penetrated, “why couldn’t you just keep your knees together?”                                                                                                

Could this stupid man keep the cheeks of this ass together if being raped by another man much heavier that he is?

The complainant had at one point asked her alleged assailant if he had a condom, which Camp said had led him to the “inescapable conclusion” that the woman had wanted sex.

Did this stupid judge not realize that the woman was afraid that she may be impregnated if the rapist ejaculated in her vagina?

This dummy asserted that the complainant’s story was less believable since she had not immediately reported the alleged rape to authorities. Thousands of women hesitate going to the police out of fear that they won’t be believed.

Before the proceedings had even wrapped up, the judge was openly speculating that the complainant had concocted the charge out of spite. He made that statement just prior to this following inane statement. “Is there not a possibility that a very unhappy thing happened here? Two young people made love, and somebody came afterwards and poisoned the girl’s mind?”

Camp had implied that “a woman cannot be raped against her will,” that “upset women fabricate sexual assault allegations,” and overall had a “flawed understanding of ‘consent.’”

Section 276 of the Canadian Criminal Code explicitly forbids a court from hearing evidence of a victim’s prior sexual history in order to determine whether they are “more likely to have consented to the sexual activity that forms the subject-matter of the charge. Despite that aspect of the law, the dummy allowed the defence attorney to question the victim about whether she had been flirting with attendees at the Calgary house party before the alleged assault occurred and whether “she was physically able to deal with” a possible rapist.

The accused, Alexander Wagar of Calgary, ultimately walked free with a warning not to “upset women and get into trouble.”

The case was appealed and the Alberta Court of Appeals responded to this dummy’s conduct at the trial as follows;

Having read the Crown’s factum, (legal opinion) portions of the trial transcript and having heard Crown counsel’s arguments, we are satisfied that the trial judge’s comments throughout the proceedings and in his reasons gave rise to doubts about the trial judge’s understanding of the law governing sexual assaults and in particular, the meaning of consent and restrictions on evidence of the complainant’s sexual activity imposed by section 276 of the Criminal Code. We are also persuaded that sexual stereotypes and stereotypical myths, which have long since been discredited, may have found their way into the trial judge’s judgment. There were also instances where the trial judge misapprehended the evidence.” unquote

The case is now set to be retried after the dummy’s verdict was decisively overturned on appeal. The federal court says it won’t remove him from the court but added that he won’t be given cases involving sexual assaults.  Meanwhile the Canadian Judicial Council is reviewing the case and they can terminate his role as a judge. I will let you know later as to the Council’s decision.

It is a sad commentary in our times that there are still terrible judges who reign our courts like Attila the Hun. 

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