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Investigation report on ex-soldier Desmond highlights systemic flaws

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There have been numerous delays in the release of the report on Lionel Desmond. (Archive photo)

The Canadian Press

The investigation into the possible reasons why Lionel Desmond killed three members of his family before committing suicide in 2017 in Nova Scotia, concludes in particular that health professionals could have done a better job in sharing with each other the complex medical history of the ex-soldier , veteran of the mission in Afghanistan.

The final report of the provincial inquiry, released Wednesday after lengthy delays, includes 25 recommendations aimed, among other things, at improving support for Canadian veterans and their families, expanding health services for Afro-descendant Nova Scotians and to tighten the mechanisms for issuing firearms licenses.

The investigation also explored complex issues surrounding domestic violence and mental health services, the provincial court judge wrote Paul Scovil in a statement.

Judge Scovil noted that this investigation also explored the unique challenges faced regional residents and African Nova Scotians — Lionel Desmond was black — when trying to obtain mental health services.

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The investigation report recommends in particular that the Ministry of Nova Scotia Health is providing more virtual care to rural African Nova Scotian communities. Additionally, the report calls on the department to hire more Black mental health professionals to provide culturally competent care.

As for Lionel Desmond's health records in the military, the report recommends that the federal government ensure that federal employees diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder or other health conditions receive a copy of their medical records, which should then be shared with provincial health authorities.

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Shanna Desmond's father, Ricky Borden (second from left) and the victim's brother, Sheldon Borden (second from right) listen to testimony from a family friend at the unveiling of the report into the deaths caused by Lionel Desmond on January 31, 2024 in Port Hawkesbury, Nova Scotia. Sheldon Borden, Shanna Desmond, Lionel Desmond, Aaliyah Desmond, Brenda Desmond, Ricky Borden

This information should easily pass through the federal and provincial borders, writes Judge Scovil. Individuals, professionals and others should carefully consider the need to air concerns about individuals and work with those whose consent is necessary to ensure the flow of information.

During 53 days of hearings, inquest heard former army infantryman was diagnosed with severe post-traumatic stress disorder and depression major in 2011, after witnessing intense combat in Afghanistan in 2007.

Although& After receiving four years of treatment while in the army, the investigation found that his mental health was still poor and his marriage was in trouble when he received four years of treatment while in the army. #x27;he was medically released from the Armed Forces in 2015. He then participated in a residential treatment program in Montreal in 2016.

More importantly, the investigation revealed that the 33-year-old former corporal did not receive any treatment in the four months following his return home to Upper Big Tracadie, Nova Scotia. Scotland, August 2016.

It strikes me that after Corporal Desmond was transferred to Nova Scotia, it took several months to escalate the care he desperately needed, even though time was of the essence.

A quote from Paul Scovil, judge of the commission of inquiry

A few months later, on January 3, 2017, he legally purchased a semi-automatic rifle and used it that same day to shoot his 31-year-old wife, Shanna, their 10-year-old daughter, Aaliyah, and her son to death. 52-year-old mother, Brenda, before turning the gun on himself.

The judge's report Scovil reveals key information about Lionel Desmond's mental health was not shared with provincial firearms inspectors and provincial health authorities.

The inquest heard his firearms license was suspended in December 2015, when he was arrested in New Brunswick under the Mental Health Act. province. At the time, his wife told police that he had threatened to kill himself. However, the license was reinstated in May 2016, after a New Brunswick doctor signed a medical assessment form declaring his patient non-suicidal and stable.

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Lionel Desmond's wife, Shanna Desmond, 31, and their daughter Aaliyah, 10, were among the victims.

At the time, Lionel Desmond was being monitored at a Fredericton clinic, where staff determined that his mental state had become unstable as he was plagued by intrusive memories of violent combat in Afghanistan . However, none of this information was shared with provincial firearms officials, as the clinic was not required to do so.

As a result, the investigation report recommends that Nova Scotia's Chief Firearms Officer work with other provinces to ensure that the Nova Scotia Chief Firearms Officer works with other provinces to ensure that the Nova Scotia Chief Firearms Officer works with other provinces to ensure that the Nova Scotia Chief Firearms Officer works with other provinces to ensure that the Nova Scotia Chief Firearms Officer works with other provinces. ensure they can share notifications if the police have concerns.

The report also recommends that the Government of Nova Scotia encourage the federal government to ensure that all new veterans are assigned a case manager as they transition to civilian life.

The investigation has learned that the Department of Veterans Affairs had appointed a case manager for Lionel Desmond's transition, but that it took six months for this process to be completed. Additionally, this manager struggled with delays and bureaucratic issues as she struggled to find the right help for her client during the last four months of his life.< /p>

On another front, the investigation focused on issues of domestic violence, with many witnesses clearly indicating that this marriage was in difficulty even before Lionel Desmond left the army.

During the' In public hearing, Dr. Peter Jaffe, a psychologist at Western University in London, Ont., said Lionel Desmond had 20 risk factors associated with domestic homicide, out of 41 factors developed by the Ontario Committee on Domestic Homicide. x27; examination of deaths due to domestic violence.

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The funeral of Lionel Desmond and his mother Brenda Desmond was held in Tracadie, Nova Scotia on January 11, 2017.

The investigation also heard that three hours before the murders, Shanna Desmond had requested information from a women's shelter on how to obtain a peace bond from the court.

The inquiry report includes several recommendations on domestic violence, including calls for a public information campaign and updating risk assessments for frontline professionals.

The investigation does not have the power to find fault in matters of criminal liability or civil, and its recommendations are not binding.

No one should be singled out, emphasizes Judge Scovil . The problem is systemic, up to and including the events of January 3, 2017.

Teilor Stone

By Teilor Stone

Teilor Stone has been a reporter on the news desk since 2013. Before that she wrote about young adolescence and family dynamics for Styles and was the legal affairs correspondent for the Metro desk. Before joining Thesaxon , Teilor Stone worked as a staff writer at the Village Voice and a freelancer for Newsday, The Wall Street Journal, GQ and Mirabella. To get in touch, contact me through my teilor@nizhtimes.com 1-800-268-7116