Dr Shock loses appeal, goes to jail

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Durban - ”Dr Shock” has begun serving a five-year prison sentence in Canada after losing his appeal against his three convictions for sexually assaulting three former psychiatric patients.

Former South African military psychiatrist, Dr Aubrey Levin, earned the nickname “Dr Shock” for his shock therapy of military patients during apartheid to “cure” gay conscripts in the South African Defence Force.

Levin, 74, handed himself over to the Calgary Remand Centre in Canada on April 25 after the dismissal of his appeal by the Court of Appeal of Alberta, in Canada, on April 23.

He had also sought leave to admit fresh evidence on appeal. The appeal was heard in October and both applications were dismissed last week by Chief Justice Catherine Fraser and Justices Carole Conrad and Bruce McDonald. They had given Levin 48 hours, after the filing of the judgment, to hand himself into custody.

Levin was registered as a psychiatrist in 1969 and later commanded the major psychiatric wing of 1 Military Hospital in Pretoria. Later, he became the apartheid government’s head of mental health. He left South Africa after he refused to testify before the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) about allegations that he was guilty of gross human rights violations.

At one time, Levin had headed the psychiatric unit at Durban’s Addington Hospital.

In Canada, he had worked as a forensic psychiatrist in the Forensic Assessment Outpatient Service of the Peter Lougheed Hospital in Calgary.

He was charged with 10 counts of sexually assaulting 10 former patients and was convicted in January last year of sexual assaults on the three men in his care between 2008 and 2010.

One of these patients had seen Levin on court orders and then voluntarily thereafter. He described 18 to 100 incidents of assault by Levin and had videotaped two of the incidents on a spy watch camera.

According to court papers, one of the videos shows Levin unzipping the patient’s pants and fondling and touching the patient’s private parts, chest and abdomen.

Levin’s grounds for appeal all related to the trial process, which the appeal judges found had no merit. They said there were no mistakes by the trial judge, Justice Donna Shelley, in all of her decisions relating to trial process, these include replacement of counsel and at least two attempts by Levin’s second legal counsel, Chris Archer, at seeking a mistrial.

Canadian newspaper, the Calgary Herald, reported on April 25 that Archer had not ruled out taking Levin’s case to the Supreme Court of Canada.

The newspaper also quoted Crown prosecutor, Shane Parker, saying there might not be a third trial on two other similar charges, which recently ended in a second mistrial because a jury could not reach a unanimous decision.

The Daily News had reported in February last year that Durban psychiatrist, Professor Angelo Lasich, who had once worked with Levin, had called the technique Levin claimed to have learnt in South Africa, “made up”.

Levin had testified he used bulbocavernosus reflex testing, normally a urology procedure, while trying to cure patients of erectile problems.

During his police interrogation, an extract of which was published in the Calgary Herald, Levin had said that when he had worked in South Africa, “we did just about everything. Some would say it was the land of medical cowboys”.

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