Video shows moments before killing of gay activist outside Halifax bar

HALIFAX -- The sentencing hearing for the mentally ill Nova Scotia man who killed gay rights activist Raymond Taavel began with a showing of surveillance video footage from the bar where Taavel and his killer crossed paths.

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Andre Noel Denny pleaded guilty to manslaughter in November, more than three years after the high-profile crime.

Most of the sentencing hearing in Nova Scotia Supreme Court on Monday was spent dealing with procedural matters, including the admissibility of certain portions of victim impact statements.

Footage from Menz Bar shown in the Halifax courtroom shows Taavel arriving at the bar around 2 a.m. and meeting three other men.

Two of the men dance on the silent video, as strobe lights flash on the dance floor. In the background, Taavel can be been talking and occasionally dancing, though the footage is of such poor quality that it's difficult to make out what is happening.

About 20 minutes in, Denny appears and joins the men at the back of the room. After a few minutes, he leaves with one of the men, appearing to help him out of the bar.

An agreed statement of facts says Denny was impaired by psychosis when he got into an argument with Taavel outside the bar, punched him in the head and slammed his face into the pavement.

The statement says Denny failed to return to a Halifax-area forensic psychiatric facility after receiving a one-hour unescorted pass April 16, 2012.

Judge Peter Rosinski said he will not hand down a sentence at Monday's hearing but instead reserve his decision.

The Crown prosecutor says he will seek a prison sentence of more than six years, while the defence says it will seek a penalty of time served as Denny has been in custody since April 2012.



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