Judges can’t be expected to be emotionless robots, two legal experts have said after a defence lawyer questioned a B.C. judge’s ability to deliver a fair sentence because she cried during a victim impact statement.
Defence lawyer Jacqueline Halliburn has asked provincial court Judge Monica McParland to recuse herself from a Kelowna, B.C., courtroom because of what she argued was an “overall tone of bias” against a person who pleaded guilty in a sexual interference case.
Jeremy Melvin Carlson was charged in 2016 with sexual assault and the sexual interference of a person under the age of 16. Carlson, who is transgender and is in the middle of a male-to-female transition, pleaded guilty to sexual interference of a minor.
Janine Benedet, a law professor at the University of British Columbia, said it’s significant that the judge cried during the sentencing stage of the trial, which means the accused had already been convicted.
“As a society, we should have a revulsion to the sexual abuse of children, there’s nothing wrong with finding that distressing,” she said.