Lionel Desmond inquest: Judge calls for another set of final findings next week

The Nova Scotia inquest that investigated why former Canadian soldier Lionel Desmond fatally shot himself and three family members in 2017 is set to resume for at least a day of hearing next week .

In June 2018, the provincial government appointed Provincial Court Judge Warren Zimmer to lead the investigation into the death, but Zimmer was fired on June 30 of that year after Premier Tim Houston ruled Zimmer was putting too much time to complete its final report.

Zimmer was later replaced by Provincial Court Judge Paul Scovil, who issued a statement saying the inquest would resume next Tuesday to hear from participating attorneys.

The statement said Scovil reviewed transcripts, archived videos and hundreds of exhibits tendered over 56 days of hearings, which culminated in final submissions in April 2022.

Scovil says participating attorneys will again have the opportunity to make their closing submissions before preparing his report and recommendations, although it does not include a deadline.

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During previous hearings, the inquest heard that Desmond served in Afghanistan as a rifleman in 2007 and was diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder and major depression in 2011.

Despite four years of treatment while in the military, investigation revealed he needed more help when he was medically released in 2015. Although he participated in a residential treatment in Montreal in 2016, his discharge summary concluded that he was still a desperately ill man.

For the last four months of his life, Desmond received no therapeutic treatment, primarily because provincial medical professionals could not access his federal medical records.

On January 3, 2017, Desmond legally purchased a semi-automatic rifle and used it later that day to k**l his 31-year-old wife, Shanna; their 10-year-old daughter, Aaliyah; and his 52-year-old mother, Brenda. Their bodies were found the next day inside the family home in Upper Big Tracadie, Nova Scotia.

This report from The Canadian Press was first published on September 5, 2023.

&copy 2023 The Canadian Press

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