Denny's temporary release puzzles uncle

The uncle of a man accused in the beating death of a gay activist in Halifax Tuesday says his nephew should have never been allowed on the streets alone.

Andre Denny charged with killing Raymond Taavel while on pass from forensic hospital

Andre Denny, 32, led into court April 18 in Halifax. (CBC)

The uncle of a man accused of a beating death in Halifax Tuesday says his nephew should have never been allowed on the streets alone.

Joel Denny says the family cannot believe Denny was granted a one-hour pass.

"It's a shock. And disappointment because I think Andre should not be let out," he said.

"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. The family is so shocked and is mourning for the victim, also Andre at this point."

Andre Denny is charged with the second-degree murder of Raymond Taavel, who was beaten to death after leaving Menz Bar on Gottingen Street.

Denny is from Eskasoni, a small Mi'kmaq community on Cape Breton Island.

He was raised by his grandparents, his uncle said. 

Joel Denny said Andre was an active child who was the lead dancer with the Eskasoni Mi'kmaq Dancers.

But his uncle says the accused changed in his early teens.

"He would have visions where somebody would be talking to him.  We sort of brushed if off and maybe this is our fault.  Maybe we took care of him too much, you know, and sort of let it go somehow, but as we went along, his mother got involved and grandmother got involved, Sarah, trying to seek help for him."

According to Joel Denny, Andre took many different medications in an effort to control his mental illness.

But things became worse when Andre began using illegal drugs, his uncle says.

His uncle hopes Denny finally receives the help he needs.

"I'm just bewildered why they let him out."

Denny has returned to the East Coast Forensic Hospital, where he was initially staying when he was granted the one-hour pass.