Sun. Feb 25th, 2024

Investigation report on ex-soldier Desmond highlights systemic flaws

Open in full screen mode

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 by sharing with each other the complex medical history of the ex-military, 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 tighten firearms licensing mechanisms.

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

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

LoadingThe CAQ “open” to putting an end to private financing of parties

ELSELSE ON INFO: The CAQ “open” to putting an end to private financing of parties

The inquiry report recommends, among other things, that the Nova Scotia Department of Health provide 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's health records Desmond in the military 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.

Open in full screen mode

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 must easily cross 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, the inquest heard that the former army infantryman had been diagnosed with post-stress disorder severe trauma and major depression in 2011, after witnessing intense combat in Afghanistan in 2007.

Although he received four years of treatment while in the army, the investigation revealed that his Mental health was still poor and his marriage was in trouble when he was medically released from the Armed Forces in 2015. He then entered a residential treatment program in Montreal in 2016.

More importantly, the investigation revealed that the 33-year-old former corporal received no treatment in the four months following his return home to Upper Big Tracadie, Nova Scotia, in 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 rifle semi-automatic gun and used it that same day to shoot his 31-year-old wife, Shanna, their 10-year-old daughter, Aaliyah, and his 52-year-old mother, Brenda, before turning the gun on himself .

Justice Scovil's report reveals that key information about Lionel Desmond's mental health was not shared with provincial firearms controllers and provincial health authorities.

The inquest heard his firearms license was suspended in December 2015, when he was arrested in New Brunswick under the province's Mental Health Act. At the time, his wife told police he had threatened suicide. 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.

Open in full screen mode

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

At the time, Lionel Desmond was being monitored at a Fredericton clinic, where staff determined 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 because 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 they can share notifications if the police have concerns.

The report also recommends that the Nova Scotia government encourage the federal government to ensure that all new veterans are assigned a manager cases during their transition to civilian life.

The inquiry heard that the Department of Veterans Affairs had appointed a case manager for Lionel Desmond's transition, but it took six months for that 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 class="StyledBodyHtmlParagraph-sc-48221190-4 hnvfyV">On another front, the investigation focused on issues of domestic violence, with many witnesses making it clear that this marriage was in trouble even before Lionel Desmond left the army.

During the public hearing, Dr. Peter Jaffe, a psychologist at Western University in London, Ontario, testified that Lionel Desmond had 20 factors of risk associated with domestic homicide, out of 41 factors developed by the Ontario Domestic Violence Death Review Committee.

Open in full screen mode

The funeral of Lionel Desmond and his mother Brenda Desmond was celebrated in Tracadie, New Scotland, January 11, 2017.

The inquest also heard that three hours before the murders, Shanna Desmond had requested information from a women's refuge about how to obtain court an undertaking not to disturb the public order.

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

L&#x27 The investigation has no authority to find fault in matters of criminal or civil liability, and its recommendations are not binding.

No one should not be singled out, emphasizes Judge Scovil. The problem is systemic, up to and including the events of January 3, 2017.

By admin

Related Post