ns-hi-taavel-852

The death of Halifax gay rights activist Raymond Taavel prompted a government review, which was released in September 2012. (CBC)

The family of Raymond Taavel, who was killed in Halifax more than a year ago, is calling on Nova Scotia to implement a pilot project to monitor dangerous patients who are on unescorted leave from the East Coast Forensic Hospital.

Taavel's family is urging the government to put enhanced surveillance on patients who may pose a danger to themselves and others following the news that another psychiatric patient, Vladimir Trubman, disappeared from the East Coast Forensic Hospital in Dartmouth late last week.

More than 18 months after Taavel died on Gottingen Street, the province still has no means of monitoring potentially dangerous patients who leave the hospital alone.

"Although the joint review said more research needs to be done we haven’t taken any steps," said Sean Foreman, the lawyer for Taavel's partner and family.

Andre Noel Denny, a 34-year-old man from Membertou, faces a second-degree murder charge in Taavel's death. At the time of Taavel's death, Denny was a psychiatric patient at the East Coast Forensic Hospital and had failed to return to the hospital after being granted a one-hour leave in April 2012 — an incident that led government officials to review release protocols for psychiatric patients.

Denny's trial is set to begin in September 2014.

Taavel's family sent a letter to the Nova Scotia Ministers of Justice and Health, saying studies in Britain show patients wearing tracking devices with a global positioning system were found and treated more quickly.

"There are good systems with modern technology that can be used and it's necessary to ensure both effective treatment and the balance of public protection," Foreman said.

"They just cannot bear to think another situation may occur where somebody is injured or there is another tragedy."

However, the psychiatrist who worked on the review of the East Coast Forensic Hospital's policies said GPS tracking devices shouldn't be given to patients until more research is done in Canada.