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Desmond inquiry: No word on when fatality inquiry in Nova Scotia will resume

Last Updated Oct 1, 2020 at 3:38 pm EDT

The Desmond Fatality Inquiry is being held at the Guysborough Municipal building in Guysborough, N.S. on November 18, 2019. An inquiry investigating why a mentally ill Afghanistan war veteran fatally shot three members of this family before killing himself enters its second week of hearings today. Lionel Desmond, a 33-year-old former infantryman from rural Nova Scotia, killed his mother, wife and 10-year-old daughter before turning a military-style rifle on himself in January 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Andrew Vaughan

HALIFAX — Nearly seven months after the COVID-19 pandemic halted an inquiry into why a former soldier killed three family members and himself in Nova Scotia, there is still no indication of when it will resume.

Provincial Justice Minister Mark Furey confirmed today that work is underway to find a larger venue to ensure the hearings can comply with physical distancing protocols, but he could not say how long that will take.

The provincial fatality inquiry is investigating why Lionel Desmond, a mentally ill former infantryman, fatally shot his mother, wife and 10-year-old daughter before turning the gun on himself in their rural home in Big Tracadie, N.S., on Jan. 3, 2017.

The inquiry, which started hearing testimony in January, was being held in a municipal building in Guysborough, N.S., but the proceedings were suspended after March 2.

Cassandra Desmond, one of Lionel Desmond’s four sisters, says the suspension was expected, but she says the lack of information since then is not acceptable.

Desmond says she has heard from her lawyer that there are plans to move the hearings from Guysborough to a larger building in nearby Port Hawkesbury, but she has yet to hear from inquiry officials.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Oct. 1, 2020

The Canadian Press