HALIFAX - A law professor says people shouldn't make assumptions about what motivated the killing of a prominent gay activist in Halifax.

Archie Kaiser, who is also affiliated with Dalhousie University's psychology department, says a harsh public reaction could damage the understanding of mental illness.

He says too little is known about the death of 49-year-old Raymond Taavel to draw any conclusions.

Defence lawyer Pavel Boubnov confirmed yesterday that Andre Noel Denny was given a one-hour pass Monday night from a local psychiatric unit.

He says his client should never have been let out of the East Coast Forensic Hospital.

Boubnov says Denny was diagnosed with schizophrenia when he was a teenager.

Police say Taavel died at the scene around 2:30 a.m. Tuesday after he tried to break up a fight between two men outside Menz Bar.

Denny has been charged with second-degree murder and is undergoing a psychiatric assessment.