Man who killed well-known gay rights activist to enjoy greater freedom
The man who killed a well-known gay rights activist in Halifax nearly six years ago will have greater freedom in the days and weeks ahead.
Nova Scotia’s Criminal Code Review Board granted new privileges to Andre Denny on Monday.
He is currently being held at the East Coast Forensic Hospital.
The decision by the board wasn’t a complete surprise; Denny has been out in the community more than 34 times since December for a variety of activities.
Denny, who has been diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia, was convicted of manslaughter in the beating death of Raymond Taavel on April 17, 2012 outside a Halifax bar.
He was being housed at the hospital at the time when he was granted permission to go to the edge of the property to smoke a cigarette, but did not return.
Taavel died the next day.
The hearing was told Monday, Denny has been responding well to a new anti-psychotic drug, but the Crown pointed out there have still been flashes of anger, including two notable episodes in a ten-day period in the last month.
After a heated phone conversation with his father, Denny was heard to say he felt like “putting my hands around someone’s neck and smashing them against the wall.”
“I would view that as a threat. I would think a person in the public might view that as a threat,” says Crown Prosecutor Karen Quigley. “His additional statement that was reported in the report, to say that he would want to go and murder a person that he thought might have been involved in his friend’s illness, could readily be viewed as a threat.”
“It’s gotta move forward,” says Peter Lederman, chair of the Nova Scotia Criminal Code Review Board. “As I said in the decision, the big change that we noticed was the institution of Clozapine, which is described a gold standard sort of last anti-psychotic drug when other drugs don’t work.”
Lederman added the hospital has since changed its smoking policy, allowing patients to light up in a designated and secure area.
With the so-called “L-4” designation, Denny will be allowed unescorted passes from the hospital for up to 14 hours at a time, but he’ll have to work-up to that level of freedom.
The board also wants to be notified immediately if there are any problems with Denny’s medication.
Taavel’s partner, Darren Lewis, declined to speak with CTV after the hearing.
With files from CTV Atlantic’s Bruce Frisko.