May 24, 2018 9:59 am
Updated: May 25, 2018 8:04 am

N.S. inquiry into Lionel Desmond murder-suicide to examine mental health, domestic violence services

Lionel Desmond fatally shot his mother, wife and daughter before turning the gun on himself at his home in Upper Big Tracadie, N.S. in January 2017.


The fatality inquiry into the deaths of Lionel Desmond and his family will examine whether the Afghan war veteran had access to appropriate mental health services and whether his family had access to domestic violence intervention services.

The judicial inquiry’s terms of reference were released on Thursday.

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Nova Scotia ordered the inquiry in December 2017, almost a year after Desmond fatally shot his mother, wife, 10-year-old daughter and himself in Upper Big Tracadie.

READ MORE: N.S. to launch inquiry into former soldier Lionel Desmond’s triple murder-suicide

The bodies of Desmond, his mother Brenda, his wife Shanna and his daughter Aaliyah were found in a house on Jan. 3, 2017.

Their family spoke out after the deaths, revealing Desmond had been diagnosed with PTSD and post-concussion disorder after completing two tours of Afghanistan in 2007.

WATCH: ‘We won’t stop’ – Lionel Desmond’s family, ex-military personnel call for inquiry, changes

In the terms of reference released on Thursday, the province says the inquiry’s report should include findings on the circumstances surrounding Desmond’s release from St. Martha’s Hospital on Jan. 2, 2017 — the day before the family’s bodies were found.

As well, the inquiry will look into whether Desmond had appropriate mental health services and whether his family had access to domestic violence intervention services.

The inquiry will also look into whether health care and social services providers who interacted with Desmond were trained to recognize the symptoms of occupational stress injuries or domestic violence.

READ MORE: N.S. inquiry into murder-suicides has ‘national implications,’ advocate says

The terms of reference also state the inquiry should look into whether Desmond should have been able to get or keep a licence that enabled him to buy a firearm.

As well, the inquiry will examine if provincial health authorities or personnel were restricted in accessing Demond’s federal health records.

The date of the inquiry has not been announced, but it will be held at the Guysborough Municipal Building and may be livestreamed online because of wide public interest.

In the coming weeks, the province says it plans to name a Provincial Court judge and designate Crown counsel to conduct the inquiry.

© 2018 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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