News release

Extension for Judge to Conclude Desmond Fatality Inquiry

The conclusion of the Desmond Fatality Inquiry has been extended to allow Judge Warren Zimmer to continue his work.

The new date is December 31, though the final report is expected to be complete before then. The extension, from September 30, was made under the Regulations Respecting Part-time Judges of the Provincial Court.

The regulations say a part-time judge may serve until age 75, but they contain an exception for the judge presiding over the Desmond inquiry. Without the extension, Judge Zimmer’s service would have ended September 30 because he turned 75 earlier this year.

“We are pleased that Judge Zimmer will remain to conclude the sensitive and high-profile Desmond Fatality Inquiry,” said Attorney General and Justice Minister Brad Johns. “The public has a strong interest in maintaining consistent jurisdiction over this inquiry.”

The Desmond Fatality Inquiry began on May 21, 2019. Challenges such as the global COVID-19 pandemic delayed the initial timelines.

Quick Facts:

  • Afghanistan war veteran Lionel Desmond killed his mother, wife, daughter and himself in Upper Big Tracadie on January 3, 2017
  • later that year, the Chief Medical Examiner recommended to the Justice Minister that a fatality inquiry be held

Additional Resources:

Desmond Fatality Inquiry website:

Regulations Respecting Part-time Judges of the Provincial Court: