Andre Denny gets approval for more independence at forensic hospital
A Criminal Code Review Board in Halifax has decided to grant extra freedom to a man who committed manslaughter while overdue on a pass from the East Coast Forensic Hospital.
Andre Noel Denny killed prominent gay rights activist Raymond Taaval in 2012 and pleaded guilty to manslaughter after being charged with second-degree murder.
The review board has increased Denny's privileges, giving him a “level 5,” which allows him to live outside the East Coast Forensic Hospital in a bungalow on the grounds of the property.
“A level 4 means they could be in the community and that could be anywhere from four hours to 12 hours a day depending on what the team gives them,” said Dr. Scott Theriault of the East Coast Forensic Hospital. “A level 5 means that the patient has the right to access our transition bungalow program which is in front of the hospital.”
Theriault says the bungalow program is designed to try to duplicate the experience of independent living.
“So patients out there have to sort of look after the house themselves they have to do the chores they have a budget to go shopping to get groceries, unlike in the hospital where the food is provided for them,” said Theriault. “So, we use it to gauge whether a person has the skills to live independently or perhaps whether they may need some level of support.”
Denny’s team had requested consecutive unsupervised overnights in the community -- something the Crown was opposed to --arguing Denny had a history of violence.
In the end, the board decided to deny overnight passes.
“It’s certainly the Crown’s position that Mr. Denny requires supervision and support while in the community,” said Crown Attorney Karen Quigley. “Without supervision and support, his risk increases. The question of the day is how do we provide that to Mr. Denny and allow him increased opportunity to rehabilitate.”
Taavel was beaten to death outside a Halifax bar in April 2012.
Six years after his tragic death those who knew him still remember his personality vividly.
“He had a big personality because he was involved with a lot of things in terms of being an activist, but he basically just stood up for anyone,” said Adriana Afford. “That’s what he did in his very last hours. He was a great person.”
Patients at the East Coast Forensic Hospital can live in the bungalows on the hospital grounds for several months.
Wednesday’s report states Denny hopes eventually to move back with his family in Cape Breton, but it also says that his close family ties were not sufficient to keep him out of very serious trouble in the past.
With files from CTV Atlantic’s Natasha Pace.