Dr Aubrey Levin – then and now

International media have been barred from the preliminary stages of the trial of the notorious Aubrey Levin, the South African doctor who tried to “cure” gay soldiers during the apartheid years through the use of shock therapy.

Levin (72), who fled to Canada in the 90’s, was arrested last year and charged with the sexual assault of 21 male patients. He has been suspended from practicing as a psychiatrist.

The judge in his trial, which began preliminary hearings this week, barred international media from the courtroom, at least for now.

Judge Bob Wilkins said that he feared that media outside of Canada, especially in South Africa, would not comply with his restrictions on publishing certain information that could affect Levin’s right to a fair trial.

“The reality is we have no sanctions over anybody that does anything outside of this country,” said Wilkins

He added: “I am very, very concerned that if I do not make this order, that — through the social media — certain things will occur that will, in fact, taint a jury pool and interfere with the administration of justice and will, in reality, prevent the accused from getting a fair trial.”

During the 70’s and 80’s, soldiers in the infamous Ward 22 at the Voortrekkerhoogte military hospital in Pretoria were allegedly strapped down and shown images of naked men and then given electric shocks in order to create negative associations to their same-sex attraction.

There have also been claims that Levin chemically castrated some gay patients and even undertook sex change operations. He has also been accused of attempting to “treat” lesbians through similar means.

Once a jury has been selected, Levin’s trial is expected to start early next year.

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