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‘Dr Shock’ guilty of sex assault

Cape Town - Aubrey Levin, the retired Joburg-born psychiatrist charged in Calgary, Canada, with the sexual assault of male patients, has been found guilty on three counts.

Members of the jury were sequestered over the weekend but were unable to agree on verdicts. On Sunday, the jury sent the judge a letter saying it was deadlocked.

However, on Monday morning, Justice Donna Shelley asked jurors to keep trying to reach a verdict. They finally came to a decision on five of the nine counts – guilty on three counts and not guilty on two. No sentence has yet been passed down.

In 2010 the Cape Argus reported that in 1968, as a general practitioner studying psychiatry, Levin wrote to Parliament asking to be invited to speak on possible changes to the laws on homosexuality being contemplated at the time. He noted that he had “treated many homosexuals and lesbians and enjoyed some measure of success in therapy”.

That therapy was the now-widely discredited aversion therapy using electric shocks. Some colleagues called him “Dr Shock”.

He joined the army as a colonel and began practising in Ward 22 at the Voortrekkerhoogte military hospital in Pretoria. This was the ward set aside for the treatment of those classified “deviant”. This included not only male and female homosexuals, but also heterosexual men who for pacifist or political reasons refused to undergo military training.

Levin has admitted he was in charge at Voortrekkerhoogte and that he had used aversion therapy, including the use of “mild electric shocks”.

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