Aubrey Levin has been sentenced to five years in jail and is planning to appeal against his sentence.

The former South African psychiatrist was sentenced in a Calgary, Canada, court on Thursday.

A week ago the jury came to the decision that Levin, 74, was guilty of sexually abusing three of his former patients.

He was acquitted of two other charges and the jury was unable to come to a unanimous verdict on a further four charges.

Levin will be registered as a sex offender.

The Calgary Herald reported that Court of Queen’s Bench Justice Donna Shelley said Levin, as a psychiatrist, should have helped his patients for their problems rather than add to them.

“Dr Levin, your actions in sexually assaulting (the patients) constitute horrible violations of the trust that these patients put in you as their psychiatrist,” Shelley told Levin.

“As a psychiatrist, you knew their vulnerabilities. They have confided in you things they likely had not confided to anyone else. They were entitled to feel safe and supported during their appointments with you. Instead, you exploited them in a predatory and repetitious manner.”

Shelley said Levin deserved eight years in jail.

The Calgary Herald reported she had reduced his sentence because of his age and ill health.

Levin, known as “Dr Shock”, headed a programme at 1 Military Hospital in Pretoria during the apartheid era that was designed to “cure” soldiers of homosexuality with shock therapy.

Levin was charged in March 2010 when the original complainant showed two videos, taken on a spy watch camera, which showed Levin fondling his genitals.

The defence, who had called for a sentence of no more than a year, is expected to file an appeal for Levin within two weeks.

The Star