Lionel Desmond inquiry aims for mid-February resumption, barring technical delays
Shanna and Lionel Desmond hold their daughter Aaliyah in a photo from the Facebook page of Shanna Desmond. (THE CANADIAN PRESS / HO - Facebook)
HALIFAX -- A spokeswoman for the Nova Scotia judiciary says the inquiry investigating why a former soldier killed his family and himself in 2017 is expected to resume in mid-February in a new venue.
Jennifer Stairs says in a news release today the fatality inquiry in the Lionel Desmond case will go ahead at that time unless there are more delays with the technical setup or significant changes to public health directives due to the pandemic.
Once the proceedings are underway at the courthouse in Port Hawkesbury, N.S., the inquiry is expected to sit Tuesday to Friday for a period of four weeks.
The inquiry, which began hearing evidence in January in Guysborough, N.S., had anticipated resuming hearings in late May, however, due to the pandemic, Judge Warren Zimmer decided to wait until he was confident the proceedings could continue safely and in compliance with public health directives.
The probe was first announced in December 2017 after Desmond's twin sisters raised questions about the former infantryman's inability to get adequate treatment for post-traumatic stress disorder after he was released from the military in 2015.
On Jan. 3, 2017, the veteran of the war in Afghanistan used a semi-automatic rifle to fatally shoot his 31-year-old wife Shanna, their 10-year-old daughter Aaliyah and his mother Brenda Desmond, 52. He then turned the gun on himself in the family's home in Upper Big Tracadie, N.S.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 27, 2020.