Judging Consent

Not that long ago a judge in Alberta asked a nineteen year old woman, in the middle of an assault trial, why she just didn’t keep her knees together. Now I say, "not that long ago," because it’s important to point out that this happened in 2014 and not 1957. And I admit, when it did happen, when it was in the newspapers, I thought this is a proverbial case of one bad apple; we’re dealing with one out-of-touch judge. I may have been suffering under the delusion of white male privilege.

Conservative leader Rona Ambrose, she felt differently. She introduced a bill, demanding that before anyone else becomes a judge they have to take a class explaining to them what sexual assault is. Well legal experts were deeply insulted. After all, they’re the experts, not the politicians. Telling them they need a refresher course on the laws is like telling an astronaut they need to go to Young Drivers before they go off into space.

Well as it turns out all those experts were wrong. Rona was right. And judges in this  country seem to be going out of their way to prove it over and over again. In Newfoundland we have a court that seems completely confused as to what consent actually means. In Nova Scotia there’s a judge that seems to be saying maybe no means no, but blacked out and blind drunk, well, that’s a definite yes.

Rona is right. But she’s half right. Because it’s not the future judges I’m wondering about, it’s the ones we have now that seem to be causing all the trouble. Every single one of them should pop by Shoppers and pick up some pencils and do what Rona says, and go back to school.

Posted: 15/03/2017 9:34:58 AM | with 0 comments

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