The defence for infamous South African ‘gay cure’ doctor Aubrey Levin has argued that he should not stand trial for sexual abuse because he has dementia, reported the Calgary Herald last week.
Levin (73) is facing ten charges of sexually assaulting male patients whom he treated as a psychiatrist in Canada. The charges were first laid in 2010, after which he was suspended from practicing.
Expert witness for the defence Dr. Lillian Thorpe told the court that Levin is suffering from cognitive dementia and that he may have some degree of Alzheimer’s.
She also said he does not understand the charges against him and cannot remember the witnesses’ names. “It would be grossly unfair for this man to be seen fit to stand trial,” Thorpe testified. “It would be injustice.”
Levin’s wife, Erica, earlier testified that her husband’s mental state had deteriorated in recent months and that he gets very confused and is unable to drive.
Levin’s family doctor, Dr. Daniel Votha, said that in addition to vascular dementia, he also suffers from other ailments including congenital heart failure and spiral stenosis on the back.
Another specialist, Dr. Alberto Choy, however, stated that while Levin may not be the man he used to be, he is still able to follow and understand the court proceedings.
“I took the worst-case scenario with Dr. Levin and still found him fit,” said Choy. “He showed no difficulty with his mind. It was appropriate, but slow, in response to my questions. His capacity does not need to be a high level of capacity. He clearly remembers history and recent history. He not just recalls it, but analyses it.”
During the 70s and 80s, Levin, dubbed “Dr. Shock”, oversaw a controversial apartheid-era programme that attempted to change the sexual orientation of gay soldiers in the infamous Ward 22 at the Voortrekkerhoogte military hospital in Pretoria.
Levin is alleged to have used electric shock therapy, hormone treatment, chemical castration and “sex change” surgery to “cure” homosexual conscripts.
In the 90s, Levin fled to Canada where he set up practice as a psychiatrist.