Andre Noel Denny appeared in provincial court Wednesday morning. He gestured toward cameras as he entered the courthouse, giving the finger.
“Public drunken fight,” he said. “Self-defence. What can I say?”
Denny has been charged with second-degree murder in the death of Raymond Taavel. Denny’s lawyer, Pavel Boubnov, said he believes Denny should not have been released on a day pass. According to Boubnov, the accused was diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia at the age of 15. Boubnov describes him as “very sick man.”
Denny was granted a one-hour day pass on April 16. He didn’t check back in at his allotted time and police were alerted. The following morning, at roughly 2:40am, Taavel was attacked. He died at the scene. Witnesses say Denny was seen inside Menz Bar, where Taavel and his companion were minutes before the attack happened.
Denny’s uncle told CBC News he was shocked that his nephew was granted a pass from psychiatric hospital where he was receiving treatment.
“I think if the institution were able to be proactive in assessing him, I think this shouldn’t be happening to Andre at this time and the victim,” he said. “The family is so shocked and is mourning for the victim — also Andre, at this point.”
Friends of Taavel were at the courthouse. Friend and co-worker Carol Millett said Taavel “was all about love and compassion. He would have hugged Mr Denny’s family today because that’s the kind of person Raymond was.”
A review of how Denny came to be released on a pass from the East Coast Forensic Hospital has been put into place. The provincial health department, the provincial department of justice, and the Capital District Health Authority will be working together to figure out how Denny came to be released. A preliminary report is scheduled to be delivered in a month. Dawn Sloane, a local councillor and friend of the deceased, was quoted as saying that she believes the authorities should have notified the public earlier that a patient with a history of violence was not accounted for.