Lionel Desmond fatality inquiry: Federal lawyer defends role of Veterans Affairs

Lionel Desmond fatality inquiry: Federal lawyer defends role of Veterans Affairs

A Nova Scotia inquiry investigating why a previous Afghanistan war veteran killed his family and himself in 2017 listened to Tuesday from a federal law firm who defended the operate of Veterans Affairs Canada.

Lori Ward told the inquiry it would be wrong to blame the federal division for the deaths of Lionel Desmond his 31-year-aged spouse, Shanna their 10-yr-aged daughter, Aaliyah and Desmond’s 52-year-old mom, Brenda.

“It would be so straightforward to lay every thing at the toes of Veterans Affairs,” she mentioned in her closing submission to the inquiry, which was anticipated to conclude general public hearings on Wednesday. “You can find a narrative that is perpetuated about an uncaring bureaucracy.”

Desmond served in Afghanistan as an infantryman in 2007 and was identified with article-traumatic anxiety condition and important despair in 2011. He was medically unveiled from the army in July 2015 following receiving 4 yrs of therapy.

Ward drew awareness to the function of Veterans Affairs personnel Marie-Paule Doucette, who was appointed as Desmond’s circumstance supervisor as soon as he remaining the military. Doucette, Ward stated, designed each and every effort to assistance him offer with stress by utilizing compassion and empathy, even although the situation manager had a weighty workload.

Ward explained Doucette manufactured particular requests to guarantee Desmond acquired funding to protect the price tag of travel for an intensive procedure method at Ste. Anne’s Clinic in Montreal. As nicely, she drove Desmond to the airport for that journey and, at one issue, achieved with him in individual for the duration of her getaway.

“Lionel Desmond had entry to the best care at this time,” Ward mentioned.

Ward also made a level of listing the different solutions Desmond acquired in the armed service and after he left, stating the care he been given at the federally funded Operational Tension Injuries Clinic in Fredericton was thought of the “gold typical” at the time.

The inquiry previously heard testimony from a manager at Veterans Affairs, Lee Marshall, who said it took the division 6 months to appoint Doucette as case manager, a time lag that he agreed was not acceptable.

As nicely, the inquiry heard Desmond was continue to a desperately sick man when he still left the mental wellbeing remedy software in Montreal on Aug. 15, 2016, and then returned residence to Higher Significant Tracadie, N.S.

At that time, Doucette asked for to continue being as Desmond’s scenario supervisor, even although he had moved from New Brunswick to Nova Scotia, to assure his continuity of care, Ward mentioned.

But there were being more problems. In the course of the previous four months of his lifetime, Desmond gained no therapeutic cure, irrespective of Doucette’s efforts. Ward pointed out that Desmond in some cases skipped appointments and unsuccessful to comply with up with overall health-care companies.

Downward spiral

At the time, Desmond essential a practical assessment and a neuropsychological assessment, but that by no means occurred.

Ward argued that Doucette was often thwarted in her endeavours to enable her customer for the reason that Desmond declined provides for aid, particularly if it intended travelling to Halifax, a 3-hour travel from his property in close proximity to Guysborough, N.S.

Among August 2016 and January 2017, Desmond’s mental wellness deteriorated, the inquiry read.

“To say there was a hole in his cure upon his discharge from Ste. Anne’s would be an understatement,” the inquiry’s lead counsel, Allen Murray, advised the listening to Tuesday.

In the course of that vital period, Desmond sought assistance from two regional hospitals in jap Nova Scotia, but the doctors he achieved had been unable to get his federal wellbeing documents, which plainly spelled out just how sick he was.

“The depth and complexity of his psychological wellbeing troubles won’t be able to be overstated,” Murray stated.

Lionel Desmond fatality inquiry: Federal lawyer defends role of Veterans Affairs
Lionel Desmond (entrance row, much ideal) was portion of the 2nd battalion, of the Royal Canadian Regiment, primarily based at CFB Gagetown and revealed in this 2007 handout photograph taken in Panjwai district in among patrol foundation Wilson and Masum Ghar in Afghanistan. Nova Scotia’s Justice Section is seeking to muzzle an inquiry investigating the loss of life of an Afghan war veteran who killed his family and himself additional than two yrs ago, a senior lawyer claims. THE CANADIAN Press/HO-Facebook-Trev Bungay Necessary Credit (Trev Bungay/Fb/The Canadian Press)

Ward argued that federal privacy legislation experienced to be respected. And she insisted that Desmond could have easily acquired his individual well being information, despite his psychological health and fitness challenges, which bundled a moderate cognitive impairment.

At an earlier hearing, a Nova Scotia psychiatrist who accepted Desmond as a patient in 2016 explained the former soldier appeared to be falling via the cracks in the health and fitness-care method in late 2016.

Ward challenged that see.

“In actuality, far from falling by means of the cracks at Veterans Affairs, Mr. Desmond’s conclusion to decline treatment [in Halifax] and to check out to obtain neighborhood supports in rural Nova Scotia amounted to a huge crack that Ms. Doucette and other individuals were accomplishing their best to have him navigate very clear of,” she stated.

“Ms. Doucette is a person who went out of her way for Mr. Desmond, and yet she was questioned [by an inquiry lawyer] if she felt contrition immediately after he killed his loved ones. Are you kidding me?”

In distinction, Murray claimed Tuesday it was obvious Desmond experienced fallen into a “procedure void” that remaining him not able to recuperate from a “downward spiral.”

Lionel Desmond demonstrated below with his daughter, Aaliyah, in Toronto. (Submitted by Cassandra Desmond)

On one more front, the inquiry realized that Desmond grew to become more and more paranoid about his wife’s fidelity, and he also turned much more managing, though there was no evidence of actual physical abuse.

“What the inquiry has listened to is that, repeatedly, specialists may not have totally grasped the a lot of purple flags for the risk of serious domestic violence or domestic murder,” Murray stated.

On Jan. 3, 2017, Desmond legally purchased a semi-automated rifle. Afterwards that day, he employed it to fatally shoot his family and himself in their rural home.

“His steps ended up the products and solutions of a damaged psyche and a tortured soul,” Murray explained. “It’s a tale of skipped possibilities. It is a story of information that was siloed and went unshared. It is a tale of a lot of caring professionals who wanted to help, but in the end could not.”

Other legal professionals associated in the provincial fatality inquiry were being anticipated to make their final submissions Wednesday.

The person primary the inquiry, provincial courtroom Decide Warren Zimmer, is envisioned to generate a remaining report with conclusions and suggestions this fall.