Canada | Crime | News | Nova Scotia

Hundreds Mourn Canadian Gay Activist Killed in Brutal Beating: VIDEO


Hundreds of people turned out for a vigil in Halifax, Nova Scotia in honor of 49-year-old Raymond Taavel (pictured, below), a Canadian gay activist who was brutally beaten by a schizophrenic on unescorted one-hour leave from a psychiatric hospital this week.

TaavelAndre Noel Denny, 32, used anti-gay slurs during the attack, and authorities are determining the murder's status as a hate crime. Denny is scheduled to appear in court Wednesday on a charge of second-degree murder.

The National Post reports:

According to court documents, Mr. Denny was found not criminally responsible for a “variety of offences” on Sept. 1 and 2, 2009, including uttering threats, causing unnecessary injury to a dog, possession of stolen property (the dog) and breach of probation. Court documents also indicate he has “a long history of schizophrenia, paranoid subtype, coupled with a substance abuse problem.” Police could not confirm reports the suspect yelled gay slurs at Mr. Taavel, but say they are “considering all possibilities” with respect to a motive.

To the man who worked beside Mr. Taavel for 13 years, the activist was a passionate “activist without anger.”

“He had a lovely, joyous presence,” said Barry Boyce, a senior editor who worked with Mr. Taavel at Shambhala Sun magazine in Halifax. “You couldn’t stay mad at him for more than 35 seconds” he told the National Post, his voice shaking. “He was a real sweet guy.”

Denny570 News adds:

The lawyer for a man accused in the death of a prominent activist in Halifax's gay community says his client should not have been released from a local psychiatric facility. Pavel Boubnov said outside provincial court that Andre Noel Denny should not have been granted a one-hour pass Monday night from the East Coast Forensic Unit. Boubnov says Denny, who is scheduled to appear in court later today on a charge of second-degree murder, is afraid and wants to return to the psychiatric unit.

Watch CBC's report on the attack and vigil plus a few moments from the vigil including a speech from Boyce, AFTER THE JUMP...

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  1. If this man is off his meds, and is a paranoid schizophrenic, he should be locked up for life [IMO] and forced to take his meds, but not charged with 'hate' crime because a schizophrenic off their meds are not in their right mind anymore than someone suffering dementia.

    Why are so many seriously mentally ill people roaming the streets of Canada and the U.S.? Tons of $ are spent on 'helping' and treating the mentally ill in both countries, yet...

    Posted by: ratbastard | Apr 18, 2012 12:04:11 PM

  2. Ratbastard, I'm in agreement.

    Posted by: The Milkman | Apr 18, 2012 12:26:05 PM

  3. Actually, the entire mental health industry is sort of neglected. And the fact that people either don't realize or don't want to accept that they have mental illness issues. So with that, you have a lot of people undiagnosed, plus there are the thousands who are misdiagnosed. Add onto the fact people with mental illness have a much harder time finding employment, meaning they make up a disproportionate amount of homeless individuals. There are a lot of factors. One can only hope this tragedy can begin a conservation and action regarding this serious issue.

    Posted by: Francis | Apr 18, 2012 12:35:35 PM

  4. This is a failure of the mental healthcare system that has destroyed two lives. Denny should have never been allowed on an unsupervised pass. Police were already searching for him as he didn't return after his hour was up. Unfortunately, Mr.Taavel paid the price of that decision when he tried to break up a fight.
    I live in Nova Scotia and this has sent shockwaves through the province, both gay and straight.

    Posted by: Caper | Apr 18, 2012 3:00:02 PM

  5. "Tons of $ are spent on 'helping' and treating the mentally ill in both countries, yet ..."

    A public myth. Starting with Reagan, money for access to psych treatment has been repeatedly cut and continues to be. The main emergency psych unit here is Seattle is being shut down with no serious replacement/backup.

    Posted by: darkmoonman | Apr 19, 2012 2:19:19 PM

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