Jury deadlocked in sex assault case
CALGARY — The jury in the sex assault trial of a Calgary psychiatrist appeared to have reached an impasse on Sunday.
After three days of deliberations the jury sent a note to Alberta Justice Donna Shelley.
“Despite vigorous and lengthy deliberations we are unable to reach a verdict on any of the nine charges,” said the note read to the court by Justice Shelley.
The jury said it was not convinced that “further deliberations would help” in determining the guilt or innocence of Dr. Aubrey Levin.
Levin’s lawyer, Chris Archer, made an application to have the proceedings declared a mistrial.
“They have deliberated for quite a long time and are just not able to reach a verdict and won’t be able to,” Archer told the court.
Crown prosecutor Bill Wister said he is concerned about prior allegations of jury tampering.
Erica Levin, 69, has been under house arrest since a woman allegedly approached a juror near the Calgary Courts Centre and offered her an envelope full of cash to find Levin not guilty.
“One of the serious concerns of the Crown is the alleged actions of the accused’s wife,” said Wister.
“There’s already been an attempt to tamper with the jury. We are deeply concerned,” he added.
“I’ve never been in a case where there’s been an attempt to bribe a juror.”
Wister said despite three days of deliberations the remaining 11 jurors hadn’t asked the court a single question. He added that since there did not appear to be any questions about the facts of the case or the law, something else must be in play
“This is serious and disturbing beyond anything any of us have seen.”
Justice Shelley noted the jurors are likely exhausted and ordered them to get a good night sleep and to return Monday morning.
“They have an impasse and they do need to be exhorted,” she said.
Levin, 74, is accused of sexually assaulting nine of his male patients, all of whom were assigned to him through the courts between 1999 and 2010.
The allegations came to light in 2010 after one of the patients came forward with secret videos he recorded during court-ordered sessions with the psychiatrist.
The videos, played in court last fall, show Levin undoing the man’s belt and jeans and appearing to fondle him.
The patient, identified only as R.B. in court, was on probation at the time the videos were taken and had been ordered by a court to see Levin twice a month.
The man said he had told authorities about previous assaults and no one believed him, so he bought a spy camera and brought it to his appointments. After Levin was arrested, other former patients came forward with abuse allegations.