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Nearly 4 years later, Andre Denny still waiting to be sentenced in Raymond Taavel killing

Andre Denny entering Halifax Provincial Court on Nov. 26, 2012.
Andre Denny entering Halifax Provincial Court on Nov. 26, 2012. File photo/Global News

It will likely still be some time before Andre Noel Denny is officially sentenced in the death of Raymond Taavel, a prominent gay rights activist in Halifax.

Taavel was beaten to death outside a bar on Gottingen Street in April of 2012. Andre Denny has been in custody since the killing. After multiple court delays, Denny pleaded guilty to manslaughter in Nov. of 2015, but is still waiting to be sentenced.

READ MORE: Campaign launched to create public art in honour of Halifax activist Raymond Taavel

Monday morning, the crown and defence were supposed to present arguments a sentencing hearing. Those arguments never happened because the two sides agreed on a remand credit.

“We agreed that a 1.5 to 1 remand credit was appropriate for Mr. Denny under the circumstances,” said James Giacomantonio, Crown ttorney on the case.

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That means that although Denny has been in custody for less than four years, he will be getting six years credit on whatever sentence the judge imposes.

Denny’s matter has now been put over until Feb. 22.

At that time, the court will hear three victim impact statements. Two are from Raymond Taavel’s family, while a third is from a community member.

“We’ve been working through this for the last four years. No one’s anticipating any magical solution for this. People realize that this is the sentencing of a very unwell person,” said Daniel MacKay, friend of Taavel.

The crown and the defence may have agreed on a remand credit but they do not have a joint recommendation for sentencing. The crown wants to put Denny in jail, while the defence is said to be looking for time served.

Taavel death highlights broader issues

The court has heard Denny suffers from paranoid schizophrenia.

At the time of Taavel’s death, he was a patient at the East Coast Forensic Hospital after being found “not criminally responsible” for another matter. Denny left the hospital on a one hour pass but never returned.

Friends of Taavel say his death highlights the failures at the hospital.

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READ MORE: Family of Raymond Taavel gets apology from province

“The sentencing is not going to bring Raymond back and the sentencing of this person is not going to fix any of the things that allowed this to happen,” said MacKay.

 

Even if Denny is sent to prison for Taavel’s death, it will likely be some time before he starts to serve the sentence. That’s because he is still a patient at the forensic hospital on another matter.

“Right now he’s being held at the East Coast Forensic Hospital, but he’ll be sent to the federal penitentiary if we get the sentence we’re asking for,” said Giacomantonio.