Agreed Statement of Facts in Andre Denny Hearing

Posted by Wayves volunteer 16/03/2016

Editor’s Note & Trigger Warning: Wayves has received permission to publish the Agreed Statement of Facts in the Andre Denny case. These facts have been agreed upon by both the Crown and Defence teams and introduced into the evidence which Justice Rosinski will be using to determine Mr. Denny’s sentence.

The full document makes for grim reading: details of the assault, levels of intoxication, etc. We’re publishing this emended version because these “agreed facts” and their interpretation feature in the legal arguments around sentencing, as presented both by the Crown attorneys and Mr. Denny’s defence. This is part of our ongoing coverage of the sentencing hearings of Andre Denny.

Trigger Warning: We have paraphrased some of the details out of respect for our readers and the right to privacy of some of those involved, including Raymond. For example, the Statement does not name the two men who went AWOL from the East Coast Forensic hospital with Mr. Denny, although statements from them are included. It does name the three men in the bar with Raymond. We’ve chosen to respect their privacy.  Any redactions, paraphrases, or comments are indicated by square brackets [  ]. Please note that even with these redactions and paraphrases, this document may be upsetting. While the basic facts are widely known, the devil is in the detail.   

IN THE SUPREME COURT OF NOVA SCOTIA

BETWEEN:

HER MAJESTY THE QUEEN

- and -

ANDRE NOEL DENNY

AGREED STATEMENT OF FACTS

Andre Noel Denny is an aboriginal male born on June 10, 1979. He is a member of the Membertou First Nation Reserve near Sydney, Nova Scotia, but most recently he had resided at the Eskasoni First Nation Reserve, also on Cape Breton Island.  At all material times he has been single with no dependent children, and frequently resided with his mother and step-father in Membertou.

For all material times, Mr. Andre Denny was under the jurisdiction of the Nova Scotia Review Board and residing at the East Coast Forensic Hospital. He had been staying there since July 14, 2011, when he was remanded to the hospital for an Assessment Order pursuant to Section 672.11 of the Criminal Code, following his involvement in a number of incidents in June, and July, 2011.

On January 9, 2012, he was found not criminally responsible on account of mental disorder on a charge of assault involving bodily harm. Following a disposition hearing before the Nova Scotia Review Board on February 20, 2012, Mr. Denny was granted a conditional discharge dated April 12, 2012, five days before the current offence took place.

At 7:30 p.m. on April 16, he, along with two other residents of the East Coast Forensic Hospital, left the facility without permission. That evening, Mr. Denny and the two other residents consumed some alcohol and crack cocaine.

Mr. Denny separated from his friends. They noted that his behaviour had become strange, as he was increasingly loud and making animal noises.

Between approximately 1:30 a. m. and 2:00 a.m. on April 17, 2012 Mr. Denny proceeded by himself to the Mi’kmaw Native Friendship Centre located on Gottingen Street in Halifax. The Mi’kmaw Native Friendship Centre was closed. He entered the Menz Bar which, in addition to the bartender, was inhabited by four patrons: Mr. Raymond Taavel [and three others]. Mr. Denny sat and socialized with the men for a few minutes before the bar closed.

[This evidence is presumably derived from the Menz Bar security tape from as well as from the testimony of the men present. What’s not clear, either from the Agreed Statement or the video evidence, is whether the three men left separately or together. The next thing we learn from the statement is that Mr. Denny entered the home of one of these men, “just a few minutes from the bar,” and that “he was forcefully expelled from the residence shortly after entering it. He then returned immediately to the area of Menz Bar,” where Raymond and his friend “were standing outside." ]

Mr. Denny became engaged in an argument with the pair. He engaged in a physical altercation with [Raymond’s friend]. He quickly forced the retreat of [Raymond’s friend]. Mr. Denny then turned his attention to Mr. Taavel who he chased from the sidewalk into the middle of the street.

[Mr. Denny hits and kicks Raymond in the head, until he falls, “rendered motionless and unconscious.” Mr. Denny again approached Raymond’s friend, who quickly retreated. Mr. Denny then returned to the “apparently unconscious Mr. Taavel.” Mr. Denny again beats Raymond’s face into the pavement. Mr. Denny fled the area … turned up an alleyway located on Cornwallis Street and he remained hiding in the back of the alley until he was located by police, approximately fifteen to twenty minutes later.]

The driver of a vehicle discovered Mr. Taavel's motionless body and 911 was called at approximately 2:39 a.m. ... Mr. Taavel was pronounced dead at 2:49 a.m. on April 17, 2012.

[The Statement goes into exacting detail of Raymond’s injuries, most of which are on the face, head and neck. The cause of death was determined to be “blunt force trauma,” associated with drug and alcohol use “and an underlying heart defect, which were contributing causes to his death.”]

Mr. Denny was impaired in terms of his mental state at the time of the incident by reason of psychosis as well as the acceleration and disinhibition caused by polysubstance intoxication such that it is believed by psychiatrists that he may have been unable to form the specific intent to cause Mr. Taavel’s death on April 17, 2012.

[The full Agreed Statement of Facts  was signed by Counsels for Mr. Denny and for the Crown, dated February 22, 2016.]

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