WINNIPEG — A body that investigates judicial misconduct confirmed this afternoon that it will be reviewing complaints against Manitoba Queen's Bench Justice Robert Dewar.
And the province of Manitoba announced it will file a formal complaint about the federal judge with the Canadian Judicial Council.
The council, which hears complaints of judicial misconduct, confirmed today that it has already received "several" complaints about the conduct of Dewar.
Jennifer Howard, minister responsible for the status of women, said today she will undertake the action on behalf of the government.
"I feel it's important, and we as a government feel it's important, to send a message to women... who may have been a victim or may be a victim of sexual assault that they should come forward, that they should feel protected by the law...," Howard said in an interview.
in a statement released today, the judicial council said "there have been numerous media reports and public reaction to these comments."
Earlier today more than 100 women and men chanted 'Yes means yes and no means no' and called for the resignation of Dewar at a noon-hour protest in front of the Law Courts Building.
Dewar gave a convicted rapist a conditional sentence last week — instead of jail time — and suggested that the victim's attire and flirtatious behaviour were partly responsible for the attack.
One of the protest organizers, Alanna Makinson of the Canadian Federation of Students lambasted Dewar for commenting on the victim’s attire and suggesting that "sex was in the air" the evening that Kenneth Rhodes forced intercourse on a woman along a highway near Thompson in 2006.
"These statements by Judge Dewar are reinforcing the myth of implied consent and the myth that the victim of sexual assault is ultimately responsible for their own victimization," Makinson said, as the crowd shouted ‘Shame.’
"This ruling has damaged the credibility of Canada’s justice system, and we are calling for an apology for his misguided and irresponsible ruling..." she said.
Makinson said the students federation also plans to file a complaint against Dewar with the Canadian Judicial Council in the coming days.