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Cape Town - The wife of a former South African psychiatrist accused of sexually assaulting 10 patients in Canada has been charged with contempt of court for allegedly trying to bribe a juror.

Erica Levin is married to Dr Aubrey Levin, the former head of psychiatry at 1 Military Hospital in Pretoria.

The psychiatrist, known as Dr Shock, headed a programme at the hospital during the apartheid years that was designed to “cure” gay soldiers with shock therapy.

Levin has been at her husband’s side in court every day for more than three months of the trial, according to the Calgary Herald.

The charges against Aubrey Levin were brought by former patients, mostly jailed prisoners for whom he provided psychiatric counselling on behalf of the Canadian government.

He initially faced 21 charges of sexual assault after former patients alleged he sexually abused them during court-ordered assessments, but 11 were withdrawn due to unco-operative witnesses and weak evidence.

The Calgary Herald reported that Levin had been under 24-hour house arrest following an encounter near the Calgary Courts Centre earlier this month and police had said a charge of obstruction of justice was expected to be laid early this week.

This was after Court of Queen’s Bench Justice Donna Shelley, who is presiding over the 73-year-old’s trial, cited Levin for contempt.

The Calgary Herald reported that a female juror had been dismissed two weeks ago after she wrote a letter outlining the alleged bribe. The juror had told Justice Shelley that she recognised the woman, who offered her either $1 000 (R9 200) or $10 000 in a white envelope, in exchange for a not guilty verdict.

The juror also told the judge the perpetrator had said “my husband” at least twice. According to the Calgary Herald, the police had acquired closed-circuit video involving the alleged bribe. Criminal charges could be laid after Aubrey Levin’s trial.

Cape Times