The lawyer for a comedian facing a human rights complaint over explicit comments he made about a woman’s sexuality at a Commercial Drive bar withdrew from the hearing on its first day.

James Millar said outside the B.C. Human Rights Commission hearing that wounded feelings aside, Guy Earle’s expletive-laced attacks are outside the commission’s jurisdiction.

“As a lawyer, I’m in a situation where I’m saying this tribunal is proceeding against the rule of law,” Millar said.

He contends Earle’s rants against the women were protected under Section 2(b) of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms covering freedom of expression. “Section 2(b) trumps anything in the B.C. Human Rights Code,” he said.

Extending the code’s provisions on services to cover Earle’s remarks could have wide implications for free expression, he said.

“This decision in terms of their jurisdiction would impact ... artistic expression of any kind.”