Lionel Desmond inquiry to resume mid-February, barring technical delays

Click to play video 'Courtroom reserved for Lionel Desmond inquiry in November' Courtroom reserved for Lionel Desmond inquiry in November
A large courtroom was reserved in Port Hawkesbury to resume with testimony in the Lionel Desmond fatality inquiry next month. But, the venue change has not been approved by the department of justice. Jesse Thomas has more – Oct 28, 2020

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 said in a news release Friday 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.

Read more: Desmond Fatality inquiry delayed again, family calls it shameful and despicable

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.

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Click to play video 'Family says race and racism yet to be addressed in Lionel Desmond Inquiry' Family says race and racism yet to be addressed in Lionel Desmond Inquiry
Family says race and racism yet to be addressed in Lionel Desmond Inquiry – Mar 2, 2020

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.

Read more: Lionel Desmond inquiry to resume at new Nova Scotia venue in February: lawyer