Testimony: Patient was happy, became zombie after beginning treatment with psychiatrist Aubrey Levin

October 26, 2012

CALGARY — The former girlfriend of the primary complainant in the Dr. Aubrey Levin sex assault trial says her partner was transformed from a happy-go-lucky guy into a “zombie” after court-ordered appointments with the forensic psychiatrist.

The girlfriend testified on Thursday that R.B. was initially always joking before the sessions with Levin at Peter Lougheed Centre between late January 2008 and March 2010, but increasingly became nervous and agitated beforehand, then short-tempered and angry afterwards.

She also said R.B. began drinking heavily after sessions, slept most of the time and unable to work. She believes it was because of Levin’s actions and a couple of different drugs he administered to her partner.

“I always describe him like a zombie - no emotion, nothing, he just sat there. He’d sleep 16 hours a day, other times he’d sleep 22 hours a day,” said the woman, who cannot be identified because of a court order.

She said when she asked Levin why R.B. went from “being happy to a zombie,” the doctor “got angry, got red in the face and said “why am I asking that question?”

The woman, who lived commonlaw with R.B. for five years, said she went into another session between Levin and R.B., which she called “horrible,” and was shocked by the personal questions and comments by the doctor.

“Levin asked me what kind of relationship was had. He wanted to know if I knew about (R.B.’s) past and knew why he was there,” she told Crown prosecutor Dallas Sopko. “Then he proceeded to tell me that because I knew nothing about (R.B.). how could I say I was in a relationship with him.

“He said (R.B.) was just looking for a mother and said I’d never be a girlfriend or wife, then he got into sexual questions. He wanted to know who would initiate sex, how long this would last, how long (R.B.) would last, where we had sex and what we did.”

She said R.B. came home on Feb. 16, 2010, and showed him blood on his underwear and a cut on his genitals, which she said was caused by Levin. It prompted them to go to the Spy Store to buy a Spy Watch video camera, one that R.B. used to videotape his next two sessions, which the jury saw Levin fondling his genitals — the latter tape for more than 14 minutes. They turned the evidence over to R.B.’s lawyer, then to police.

Levin is on trial for allegedly assaulting 10 patients under his court-ordered care, including R.B., between 1999 and 2010.

The accused, who fired his lawyers earlier this week and is representing himself, refused to cross-examine any of the three witnesses on Thursday.

When asked by Court of Queen’s Bench Justice Donna Shelley if he had any questions for Dr. Francois Belanger, medical director of Alberta Health Services, Levin declined because he said he was incapable of doing so.

Levin has told court he has dementia and has severe memory problems, but has sounded very articulate when speaking in court.

“M’Lady, I have never been trained as a lawyer. I have never been trained to do cross-examination. Over and above that, I am hampered by . . .” he said before Shelley cut him off and excused the jury.

hen the jury returned a short time later, Shelley simply told them, “There are no questions for cross-examination.”

Levin also said when asked if he had questions for the girlfriend, the final witness of the day, “M’Lady, I regret I’m not trained to cross-examine.”

Again, the judge abruptly stopped him and sent away the jury. When they returned later, she told them, “Dr. Levin has no questions.”

The situation will become even more significant next week when prosecutors Bill Wister and Sopko begin calling the 10 complainants to testify.

Levin, 73, is accused of sexually molesting them while in a position of trust during court-orddered sessions at Peter Lougheed Centre. He told police in a videotaped statement to police Det. David Burke on March 23, 2010, shortly after being charged, that he was doing a medical procedure on R.B. for sexual dysfunction that was generally done by a urologist.

Belanger, however, said although psychiatrists are permitted to conduct physical examinations on patients, they must formally request from the College of Physicians and Surgeons to do any procedures that are not part of their mandate.

“There are no restrictions on his privileges, but we expect Dr. Levin would practice as a forensic psychiatrist as per the standards as specified by the College,” said Belanger.

“I would expect a psychiatrist to practice in the standards of clinical psychiatry, not the standards of a urologist.”

Belanger said between 1998, when Levin was hired, he never applied to practice as a urologist or to do a urologist’s procedures. He said Levin was suspended after being charged.

It is still expected that the court will appoint a neutral lawyer to cross-examine some of the complainants, but that has yet to be determined.

Source: Daryl Slade, "Cheerful patient became a 'zombie' after sessions with Levin, trial told," Calgary Herald, October 25, 2012.


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