(Source:  CBC News)

Friends of Raymond Taavel participate in a vigil on Tuesday in Halifax, Nova Scotia.

Friends of Raymond Taavel participate in a vigil on Tuesday in Halifax, Nova Scotia. (Mike Dembeck/Canadian Press)

Government officials in Nova Scotia will review the release from custody of a man accused of beating a gay rights activist to death.

Andre Denny is charged with second-degree murder of Raymond Taavel.

Taavel, 49, was killed early Tuesday after leaving Menz Bar on Gottingen Street.

Denny was arrested soon after in a nearby alley.

Denny, 32, was a patient at the East Coast Forensic Hospital. He was issued a temporary pass on Monday but never returned to the facility.

John Gillis, a spokesperson for Capital Health, says the Criminal Code Review Board granted the pass. It’s composed of a group of lawyers and psychiatrists.

“That review board takes advice from our clinicians. Some patients would have passes for an hour, a day, or a weekend, either supervised or unsupervised based on how a patient is complying with their treatment, you know their needs and recovery,” he said.

The province has launched a review to determine whether all policies and procedures were followed, and whether they are adequate.

“I respect the fact that mental illness is a disease and that it’s a medical issue not a criminal issue,” said Ross Laundry, the province’s minister of justice.

“What we have to determine here, is the incident related to criminal behaviour or the mental illness and then what systems or processes do we need to evaluate or re-assess to try to minimize or reduce these incidents ever happening again.”

The deputy minister of health and wellness, the deputy minister of justice and the CEO of Capital Health will lead the joint review.

A progress report is expected in 30 days.

Denny has been returned to the East Coast Forensic Hospital.

(Source:  CBC News)

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