CALGARY – The wife of a psychiatrist awaiting a verdict on charges that he sexually assaulted some of his court-appointed patients is facing charges herself after a juror at the trial was allegedly offered an envelope full of cash.
Erica Levin, 69, has been charged with contempt of court and has been under 24-hour house arrest stemming from an encounter near the Calgary Courts Centre earlier this month. Police say a charge of obstruction of justice is expected to be laid early next week.
A female juror in the trial of Erica Levin’s husband, Dr. Aubrey Levin, was released from her duties after informing the court she had been approached by a woman on a transit platform and offered a white envelope containing cash.
The wife’s bail hearing heard that the attempted transaction was captured on transit video. The amount of money offered was believed to be between $1,000 and $10,000.
The information is being published now because the jury in Aubrey Levin’s trial has been sequestered for deliberations.
Erica Levin’s lawyer, Allan Fay, told reporters Friday he was arranging to have his client examined by a psychiatric expert.
“The allegation is that she approached a juror in her husband’s trial and had conversation with that juror relating to her husband’s trial and of course that’s forbidden under Canadian law,” Fay said. “Any allegation of interference with the court process, especially with a jury trial, is extremely serious.”
“I’m not aware if there was an envelope of cash. I know there’s an allegation there was an envelope, but whether there was cash remains to be seen.”
Erica Levin was refused bail.
“My concern is that she is someone hell-bent on subverting a jury trial,” said Alberta Court of Queen’s Justice Ron Stevens in his decision.
“Who would have thought anyone would tamper with a jury in the first place?” he asked.
A publication ban — often imposed on bail hearings — was not put in place at Erica Levin’s hearing. She is scheduled to appear in court March 4.
The Crown prosecutor in the Aubrey Levin trial said he was surprised when the juror came forward.
“I was gobsmacked,” said Bill Wister.
Fay said he expects the 24-hour house arrest will be lifted on Monday now that her husband’s case is before a jury.
Aubrey Levin, 74, was charged in 2010 with molesting nine patients who had been under court orders to seek treatment from him.
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, showed the South African doctor undoing the man’s belt and jeans and appearing to fondle him.
Fay said the trial has impacted Erica Levin physically, emotionally and psychologically.
“This is a woman who for the past three years has lived with her husband through hell. Her husband faces extremely serious allegations where there’s a strong possibility he could receive a jail sentence,” Fay added.
“She’s been cut off from her friends. She hasn’t even attended her place of worship for three years. This is a woman who’s basically at the end of her rope.”