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Nova Scotia inquest into death of former soldier and family nears completion

A Nova Scotia inquiry into why an Afghanistan war veteran killed himself and three family members in 2017 is set to wrap up public hearings this week.

Lionel Desmond served in Afghanistan as an infantryman in 2007 and was diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder in 2011 before being medically discharged from the military in 2015.

The inquest heard that Desmond was a desperately ill man whose marriage was in trouble when he was released from a residential treatment program in August 2016 and returned home to eastern Nova Scotia.

The man leading the investigation, Provincial Court Judge Warren Zimmer, said it appears Desmond fell through the cracks once he returned home, where he received no therapeutic treatment in the course of the last four months of his life.

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Desmond Inquiry: Presiding Judge hints at key recommendation at end of testimony

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On January 3, 2017, Desmond legally purchased a semi-automatic rifle and later that day used it to kill his wife Shanna, their 10-year-old daughter Aaliyah, and her mother Brenda, before turning the gun on himself. himself in the family. rural house in Upper Big Tracadie, NS

Lawyers involved in the provincial death investigation are expected to make their final submissions today and Wednesday — and Zimmer is expected to issue a final report with recommendations this fall.

The inquiry began its work in May 2019 and public hearings began in January 2020, but there have been a number of delays caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

A total of 69 witnesses testified under oath during 53 days of hearings in Guysborough, NS, and later in Port Hawkesbury, NS.

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The Lionel Desmond investigation focuses on police initiatives around domestic violence

The mandate of the investigation includes determining whether Desmond and his family had access to appropriate mental health and domestic violence intervention services.

Additionally, the survey examined Canada’s firearms program, provincial access to federal health records, and whether health care and social service providers have been trained to recognize symptoms of family violence.

This report from The Canadian Press was first published on April 19, 2022.

© 2022 The Canadian Press