NEWS

Psychiatric assessment given more time by judge in Halifax murder case

06/18/2012 11:14 EDT | Updated 08/18/2012 05:12 EDT
HALIFAX - The psychiatric assessment of a man charged with second-degree murder in the beating death of a prominent activist in Halifax's gay community has been extended until mid-August.

Andre Noel Denny, 33, appeared in Halifax provincial court on Monday where the Crown and defence agreed on an extension of his assessment to Aug. 13.

Crown attorney Darrell Martin said Toronto-based psychiatrist Hy Bloom needs more time to go over Denny's medical records.

"He needs more time because it's a complex case," Martin said outside court after Denny's appearance.

"The logistics of coming from Ontario to here, coupled with his busy practice, has made it difficult for him to do this assessment in the time period allotted."

The assessment had been previously extended in early May after the East Coast Forensic Hospital sent a letter to the Crown noting a conflict of interest in the case.

Denny, diagnosed with schizophrenia as a teenager, was released by the hospital on a one-hour pass on April 16.

The body of the 49-year-old Raymond Taavel was found hours later outside a downtown bar.

Denny covered his face with the hood of his sweater as he entered the courtroom on Monday.

He was remanded to the East Coast Forensic Hospital.

The circumstances around Denny's release from the hospital are now the subject of a review by the provincial government.

Nova Scotia's Health Department said last month that the review of the psychiatric facility will focus on patient supervision and public notification when a patient fails to return while out on a pass. It will also examine community access privileges granted to some patients.

The review is expected to finish this summer.

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