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Tuesday, September 28, 2021

Nova Scotia Court of Appeal dismisses ‘Grabher’ licence plate case

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HALIFAX — The legal battle over a personalized licence plate between its owner and the Government of Nova Scotia has come to an end.

Lorne Grabher was denied his latest bid to overturn the province’s decision to revoke his licence plate bearing his surname.

The Nova Scotia Court of Appeal upheld a lower court’s ruling that found licence plates are not “public spaces” and therefore, not subject to freedom of expression.

In the 2020 ruling, Justice Darlene Jamieson said the registrar recalled the plate because it could be interpreted as a socially unacceptable statement without the benefit of further context that isn’t provided on licence plates.

Under provincial regulations, Nova Scotia’s registrar can refuse to issue personalized licence plates if the proposed combination of characters expresses or implies a word, phrase or idea that could be considered offensive or not in good taste.

Lorne Grabher’s Nova Scotia plate, which he had for nearly 30 years, was revoked by the province’s Registrar of Motor Vehicles in December 2016 after it received a complaint saying the sign promoted hatred toward women.

Grabher has been ordered to pay $1,200 – a portion of the government’s legal fees.

With files from The Canadian Press.

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