As the Desmond inquiry hears from its last witness, the judge hints at changes to come

The Lionel Desmond inquiry heard from its ultimate witness Tuesday, closing greater than two years of proof gathering into what led an Afghanistan veteran to fatally shoot his household and himself in January 2017.

The main focus will shift now to the suggestions the inquiry will make to stop future such tragedies.

Nova Scotia’s chief firearms officer, John Parkin, testified Tuesday earlier than the Port Hawkesbury, N.S., inquiry for the third time.

On this event, the inquiry drew upon his experience to find out what adjustments are wanted to ensure individuals with ongoing psychological sickness or a historical past of home violence face further scrutiny when making use of for a firearms acquisition licence. 

Lionel Desmond twice had medical doctors log off on medical paperwork that declared him neither a danger to himself or anybody else in holding a firearms licence; within the first case, he had been flagged for evaluate after a firearms officer realized from one of many Afghanistan veteran’s references that he hadn’t disclosed his 2011 post-traumatic stress dysfunction analysis.

The second time, Desmond’s licence was suspended and a gun was seized by RCMP in Nova Scotia after the Afghanistan veteran threatened to commit suicide in November 2015. 

In early 2016, a health care provider who prescribed Desmond medical hashish for PTSD offered the medical paperwork a firearms officer would inform the inquiry that she nearly completely relied on in making her resolution to reinstate the licence.

Shanna Desmond and her daughter have been among the many 4 individuals killed within the dwelling in Higher Large Tracadie, N.S. (Fb)

Whereas that evaluate was occurring, Desmond’s psychologist and psychiatrist have been in search of a spot for him at an in-patient psychiatric facility to attempt to stabilize his power signs of PTSD, which included bother controlling his feelings.

On Jan. 3, 2017, roughly 5 months after his launch from Ste. Anne’s Hospital in Quebec, Desmond legally bought a Soviet-style semi-automatic rifle after which drove to his in-laws dwelling in Higher Large Tracadie, N.S.

There, he fatally shot his spouse, Shanna, his 10-year-old daughter, Aaliyah, and his mom, Brenda, earlier than turning the gun on himself. 

Lionel Desmond is proven right here on this household picture, together with his mom, Brenda, left, and daughter, Aaliyah, proper. (Submitted by Cassandra Desmond)

A health care provider’s accountability

Following Parkin’s earlier testimony, Choose Warren Zimmer hinted closely at potential adjustments to firearms coverage and laws that he could advocate in his ultimate report — specifically, round guaranteeing firearms officers can get entry to related medical historical past.

On Tuesday, he agreed with Parkin that it could be helpful to compel medical professionals who clear an applicant for a firearms licence to report if that affected person’s psychological well being later deteriorates.

“On the finish of the day whenever you ask, what if they will not?” Zimmer stated. “Nicely, if they will not and it turns into a broad sufficient drawback, then maybe there must be a legislative change.”

He steered that he could be recommending these adjustments — a lot in the identical method that many medical doctors are compelled to report a public security danger in terms of their affected person holding a driver’s licence. 

There are roughly 75,000 firearms licence holders in Nova Scotia, with 9 firearms employees to research considerations. Parkin stated that is one of many the reason why sure individuals could fall via the cracks.

It is also why the workplace depends on exterior sources to boost crimson flags: police experiences, medical professionals and relations or colleagues, he stated.

“I am involved with adjustments within the system that might assist shut these gaps in order that issues do not slip via,” Zimmer responded.

The inquiry will meet once more on April 19 when attorneys will submit their suggestions for the decide to think about in his ultimate report.


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