Janice Denny Paul told reporters Thursday her son is innocent.

Paul was attending a hearing for Andre Noel Denny, the psychiatric patient charged in the death of a Halifax gay activist, when she spoke publicly for the first time.

Denny was granted a one-hour leave from the East Coast Forensic Hospital April 16. Raymond Taavel, 49, was killed in the early hours of April 17 outside Menz Bar, a popular gay club on Gottingen Street.

His mother carried with her a large portrait of her son dressed in a business suit to show another side of a young man who is also an accomplished native dancer.

"We all love him. I wanted this picture shown because I don't appreciate the way the media portrays people who aren't proven guilty of anything yet," Paul said.

Denny's mother likened her son's case to that of Donald Marshall, a First Nations man wrongfully convicted of murder.


Janice Denny Paul carried with her a large portrait of her son dressed in a business suit to show another side of the young man. (CBC)

Denny was at the East Coast Forensic Hospital after a court declared him not criminally responsible for an assault.

His mother said he had prepaid calling cards and blames the hospital for letting him out that night.

"He calls everybody, so we all know his condition before this happened and he should not have been allowed out that night even. He was not well," she said.

Paul said her son was not well at the time of the alleged murder, but now he is back to his former self.

Thursday, 34-year-old Denny appeared calm during his court appearance and smiled at his friends and mother, who travelled from Membertou, N.S., reported the CBC's Jennifer Henderson.

The hearing to determine if Denny is fit to stand trial has been adjourned until late November. The defence lawyer said the Ontario psychiatrist examining Denny wants three more weeks to file his report.

Denny will be back in court Nov. 26.