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

The Lionel Desmond inquiry heard from its closing 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 folks 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 docs log off on medical paperwork that declared him neither a threat to himself or anybody else in holding a firearms licence; within the first case, he had been flagged for assessment after a firearms officer discovered from one of many Afghanistan veteran’s references that he hadn’t disclosed his 2011 post-traumatic stress dysfunction prognosis.

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 supplied the medical paperwork a firearms officer would inform the inquiry that she virtually solely relied on in making her resolution to reinstate the licence.

Shanna Desmond and her daughter have been among the many 4 folks killed within the residence in Higher Huge Tracadie, N.S. (Fb)

Whereas that assessment was taking place, Desmond’s psychologist and psychiatrist have been looking for a spot for him at an in-patient psychiatric facility to attempt to stabilize his persistent signs of PTSD, which included hassle 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 residence in Higher Huge Tracadie, N.S.

T., 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 . on this household photograph, 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, Decide Warren Zimmer hinted closely at potential adjustments to firearms coverage and laws that he could advocate in his closing report — particularly, round making certain firearms officers can get entry to related medical historical past.

On Tuesday, he agreed with Parkin that it will 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 if you ask, what if they will not?” Zimmer mentioned. “Effectively, if they will not and it turns into a broad sufficient downside, then maybe t. must be a legislative change.”

He recommended that he could be recommending these adjustments — a lot in the identical manner that many docs are compelled to report a public security threat on the subject of their affected person holding a driver’s licence. 

T. are roughly 75,000 firearms licence holders in Nova Scotia, with 9 firearms employees to research issues. Parkin mentioned that is one of many explanation why sure folks could fall via the cracks.

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

“I am involved with adjustments within the system that may 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 choose to contemplate in his closing report.

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