Senior Nova Scotia health bureaucrat apologizes to Lionel Desmond's family

A senior Nova Scotia health bureaucrat has apologized to the family of a former soldier who killed himself and three family members almost six months ago, saying miscommunication has led to a delay in getting key information to Lionel Desmond's immediate relatives.

Colin Stevenson, vice-president of quality at the Nova Scotia Health Authority, confirmed today that a quality review of Desmond's interaction with the health-care system was completed in March but he has been unable to set up a meeting with relatives because of confusion over who would be represented.

Two of Desmond's sisters, Cassandra and Chantel Desmond, say they have been asking for records and reports to help them understand why the former infantryman fatally shot their mother, his wife and the couple's daughter before killing himself in his family's rural Nova Scotia home.

However, the twin sisters say their efforts have been in vain, which is why they came forward this week to demand the province's medical examiner order a judicial fatality inquiry into the high-profile case.

The sisters say they are keen to get the recommendations from the quality review, but they made it clear in a recent interview that they have grown frustrated by delays and what they perceive as a lack of disclosure and accountability.

Meanwhile, the province's medical examiner, Matthew Bowes, has said he is also waiting to see the results of the quality review, which Stevenson says will not be released to the public.