3 hours ago on the Edmonton Journal: http://www.edmontonjournal.com/news/
Dr. Aubrey Levin freed on bail pending appeal of sex-assault convictionsBY DARYL SLADE, CALGARY HERALD FEBRUARY 13, 2013 6:03 PM
Former forensic psychiatrist Dr. Aubrey Levin will be free on strict bail conditions pending his appeal of convictions for sexually assaulting three patients primarily under his court-ordered care.
Alberta Court of Appeal Justice Clifton O’Brien ordered Levin’s release in what he called a tough decision on Wednesday.
“Dr. Levin no longer enjoys the presumption of innocence. He has been convicted and his guilt was established by a jury,” said O’Brien. “However, he does enjoy the right of appeal. His medical licence has been suspended and, at his age (74) and circumstances, he is not a danger to the public.
“While his appeal is not assured, I don’t believe the public would lose confidence in the administration of justice if he is released pending appeal.”
Levin was convicted by a jury of three counts of sexual assault on Jan. 28. He was also acquitted of two other charges, and the jury could not reach a verdict on four other counts. He was sentenced three days later to five years in prison.
O’Brien, however, insisted he wants the appeal expedited.
O’Brien said there is time available in September and October to hear the appeal.
He ordered Levin to abide by a curfew of 11 p.m. to 7 a.m. and not leave Calgary without permission. Levin previously surrendered his passport and cannot apply for another one.
Although the conditions have not yet been prepared and signed by the judge, Defence lawyer Karen Molle said her client will also post $15,000 cash.
Molle argued that Court of Queen’s Bench Justice Donna Shelley erred in exhorting the jury the day after it gave her a note on the late afternoon on Jan. 27, saying it could not reach a verdict on any of the nine counts and no more deliberation would change that decision.
Shelley told them the next morning in an established court exhortation to try its best to reach a verdict. Eight hours later, it reached its decisions.
“It’s not an argument that the words used by the judge in the exhortation were in error,” Molle told the judge. “Part of the appeal is that in the circumstances, they (jurors) were under immense pressure to come to a verdict. (She) put pressure on them. From the time they gave her the note at 5:30 p.m. until the next morning, after 16 hours they were under immense pressure.”
Molle also said the judge was wrong in not disclosing tapes of some 50 TIP line calls from alleged victims of Levin, saying Levin could have had a more thorough defence to all charges. She said the Crown then cherry-picked the charges that were similar to the original complainant RB, who used a spy watch camera to record his last two sessions with Levin in March 2010.
Crown prosecutor Eric Tolppanen argued that the judge gave very well-reasoned decisions on all applications during the lengthy trial that began in early October and the appeal is frivolous.
He also said there was concern that Levin no longer has incentive to surrender himself to the court, if required, as he has been convicted and sentenced to five years.
He said Levin made all efforts to derail his trial, first by attempting to have the trial delayed for physical reasons, then mental fitness, then fired his first lawyer,
“The trial judge speaks of a series of events orchestrated by the accused that caused her concern,” said Tolppanen. “It was a series of conduct to bring it to a halt.”
Tolppanen said there was no pressure put on the jury by the judge in her exhortation, as they had already deliberated for three full days and they needed an overnight break to get a good sleep and regroup when the judge asked them to go back and continue.
“The trial judge’s ruling has no room for appeal,” Tolppanen said. “The trial judge thoughtfully considered the defence application and made an unassailable ruling.”
Levin was not in court for the interim bail hearing.
Meanwhile, Erica Levin, 69, the accused’s wife, makes her first appearance in court on Thursday on a charge of attempting to obstruct justice for trying to bribe one of the jurors.
Court heard she allegedly approached a juror on Jan. 11 at a nearby CTrain station and handed the woman an envelope with what the juror said was a large sum of cash.
The juror gave a note to the judge at the next sitting on Jan. 14, which outlined the allegations, and the judge dismissed her, saying she acted properly.
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