Andre Denny, convicted killer, granted limited community access

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Andre Denny, convicted killer, granted limited community access
WATCH ABOVE: A Nova Scotia man convicted of manslaughter in connection with the death of a gay rights activist has been granted limited access to the community – Jul 18, 2017

Convicted killer Andre Denny is now allowed to have some community access.

The Criminal Code Review Board ruled Tuesday that Denny, 38, can leave the East Coast Forensic Hospital in Dartmouth on day passes, as long as he’s supervised by hospital staff, a volunteer or a family member.

Despite now being allowed in the community, the board granted a hospital detention order.

“The access to the community would be directly supervised and he is required to continue to come back to the hospital each evening,” said Karen Quigley, Crown attorney.

READ: Andre Denny pleads guilty to manslaughter in 2012 death of Raymond Taavel

Denny pleaded guilty to manslaughter in connection with the death of Raymond Taavel, a prominent gay rights activist in Halifax.

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Taavel, 49, was beaten to death outside Menz Bar on Gottingen Street in April 2012. During one of his court appearances, the judge said Denny had kicked Taavel so hard that his foot impression was left in the man’s head.

At the time of Taavel’s death, Denny was a patient at the same forensic hospital, after being found not criminally responsible, or NCR, on another matter.

Denny left the hospital on a one hour pass the night Taavel was killed and never returned.

A judge sentenced Denny to 7.5 years in custody for Taavel’s death. However with credit for time served, at the time of his sentencing, he only needed to remain in custody for an additional 703 days.

Denny received a statutory release on that sentence on July 5, however, he remains a patient at the hospital.

READ MORE: Andre Denny sentenced to 703 additional days in custody for killing Raymond Taavel

At a hearing on Tuesday afternoon, the board heard that within the last six months, Denny has made a homophobic slur to a fellow patient at the hospital. In addition, he threatened to punch another patient after he was hit with a basketball.

Denny’s lawyer was arguing for a higher level of community access, where he would not need direct supervision, telling the court he “served his time” and was given an early release because of his conduct at the forensic hospital.

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The Crown, however, told the board that Denny has suffered from severe mental illness since he was 18-years-old and has a criminal record dating back two decades.

“Mr. Denny has been diagnosed with a very serious mental illness, schizophrenia, and he’s had the diagnosis for many years,” Quigley said. “He also has a concurrent diagnosis of polysubstance abuse and that has a long history as well and he also has antisocial personality traits. He is a complex individual.”

WATCH: Family of Raymond Taavel describe grief, devastation after his death

Click to play video: 'Family of Raymond Taavel describe grief, devastation after his murder'
Family of Raymond Taavel describe grief, devastation after his murder

In the end, the board decided to grant Denny limited access to the community and allow him out on day passes.

“The Criminal Code Review Board is tasked with a difficult task and that is, to balance the interest of the individual to be rehabilitated and reiterating into the community. At the same time, to balance the interest of the public’s safety,” said Quigley.

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READ MORE: Family of Raymond Taavel resolve lawsuit against Capital Health

The next hearing between the Criminal Code Review Board and Denny will happen in December. The Crown says the board could continue to have oversight on Denny indefinitely.

“He is under the oversight of the Board pursuant to a Not Criminally Responsible finding made in 2012 and that remains in place. That gives them the oversight on where he lives and his access to the community and there is no end date on that. It is an indefinite oversight,” said Quigley.

“The objective being of course, that eventually, ideally, you rehabilitate offenders and reintegrate them into the society so that they’re safe and well and the public interest has been met.”

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