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Trial of psychiatric patient charged in murder of Halifax gay rights activist postponed

Wednesday, August 15, 2012
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HALIFAX, N.S., Canada — The trial of a Canadian psychiatric patient charged with second-degree murder in the beating death of Raymond Taavel, a prominent activist in Halifax’s gay community, has been postponed.

A spokesperson for Nova Scotia Public Prosecution Service’s Crown Attorney told LGBTQ Nation on Tuesday that the trial of Andre Noel Denny, 33, has been rescheduled. Denny is now scheduled to appear in Halifax provincial court on September 20 with new counsel.

Andre Noel Denney

The postponement is to allow for a psychiatric assessment of Denny, who was diagnosed with schizophrenia as a teenager.

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. on 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 that, 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 Denny 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 surrounding Denny’s release from the hospital.

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