|Andre Noel Denny Under Arrest April 17 2012|
By Brody Levesque | HALIFAX, N.S., CANADA -- A spokesperson for Nova Scotia Public Prosecution Service's Crown Attorney told LGBTQNation that the case of Andre Noel Denny,33, who has been charged with second-degree murder in the beating death of Raymond Taavel a prominent activist in Halifax's gay community has been rescheduled.
Denny is now scheduled to appear in Halifax provincial court on September 20 with new counsel, Don Murray.
Public Prosecution Service spokeswoman Chris Hansen said that both the Crown and defence agreed on an extension of a psychiatric assessment of Denny, who was diagnosed with schizophrenia as a teenager during an appearance in June. The extension was granted because Toronto-based psychiatrist Hy Bloom needed more time to go over Denny's medical records. According to Hansen, the defendant's evaluation should be ready in time for the new court date in the fall.
Raymond Taavel, 49, the former editor of the LGBT magazine “Wayves” and former co-chair of PrideWeek Halifax, was found bleeding and unconscious outside the Menz & Mollyz bar in Halifax at about 2:30 a.m. last April 16 by a passerby who called authorities.
Constable Brian Palmeter, a spokesperson for the Royal Canadian Mounted Police in Halifax, told LGBTQ Nation- at the time of the incident- according to witnesses, Taavel and another man were accosted by an individual outside the bar.
One witness told police that he saw a large man attack two smaller men, one of whom fled as the attacker slammed the other man’s head into the street. Two other witnesses told police the attacker used homophobic slurs during the beating.
Palmeter said Taavel died at the scene as a result of his injuries.
A police K-9 unit was used to track the assailant to a nearby alley where he was hiding behind some trash cans.
Denny was a psychiatric patient from the nearby East Coast Forensic Hospital who failed to return to the facility after a one-hour leave.
The provincial government is reviewing the circumstances around Denny's release from the hospital.