Hold your tongue

The Canadian Judicial Council has decided to go easy on Justice Robert Dewar, who turned some heads when he called Kenneth Rhodes, a rapist he himself convicted, a “clumsy Don Juan”.

For those of us already soured on the idea of Canadian justice, this news comes as no surprise. After all, this is a country whose courts only recently found that women can’t consent to sex if unconscious, and the ruling in that case came as the result of a 6-3 vote in the Supreme Court. Repeat: there were three people who didn’t agree with the decision. The mind boggles: what could their reasoning have possibly been?

With the sprit of the Slutwalk still in the air, it seems crazy that the Council would stand behind yet another comment from a judge ostensibly endorsing rape. In fact, Justice Dewar’s comment shows sympathy for the rapist, painting him as an inept romancer rather than a sexual aggressor. Despite Justice Dewar’s subsequent apology, damage has been done here. If an esteemed member of our own justice system doesn’t respect the plight of those subjected to sexual assault, what hope is there for justice to be done? In that respect, it’s probably worth noting that though Rhodes was found guilty of sexual assault, his sentence was relegated to a two year conditional affair.

It’s time for us to expect more from those who administer justice in this country. There have been too many instances of irresponsible comments from judges lately. Justice Dewar should’ve been punished in some way for his disrespectful remark, and the fact that he wasn’t shows that justice in this country is still largely a man’s game.