Grabher

Judge grants Swastika, Ont. and Dildo, N.L. arguments admissible in Grabher case

Nova Scotia man fighting for the licence plate “GRABHER” heads to trial this fall

Lorne Grabher outside the courtroom before a hearing on Thursday.   Cam Honey-Webb

A court has whittled down the list of arguments Lorne Grabher will be allowed to make at trial this fall when he tries to get his licence plate back.

In Nova Scotia Supreme Court on Friday, Justice Pierre Muise made multiple rulings on a motion to contest the affidavit of 69-year-old Grabher. Muise ruled that eight sections of the document were admissible, while 11 were struck.

During trial on Sept. 5 and 6, Grabher will be allowed to mention Canadian place names such as Dildo, N.L., and Swastika, Ont. Muise agreed the connotations associated with those names are relevant and could determine whether or not an infringement was made against Grabher’s rights and freedoms.

In 2016, Grabher’s licence plate with the text “GRABHER” was denied renewal by the Registry of Motor Vehicles, after an anonymous complaint was made. He took legal action, arguing the province’s decision violated the constitution when it ruled the plate offensive.

Grabher wasn’t at Friday’s hearing and his lawyer, Jay Cameron, addressed the court via telephone, as his flight from Winnipeg was delayed.

Although Crown lawyer Alison Campbell said she believed Friday’s ruling was a success on their part, Cameron disagreed.

“Today’s ruling was not disproportionately successful one way or another,” he said to the court.

Muise struck sections from the affidavit deemed to be Grabher’s opinion, and therefore not admissible.

Muise also ruled that Grabher would have to pay $750 in costs in the event of any outcome, for filing documents late.

The next ruling in this case will be on a motion to strike a report by McGill University professor Carrie Rentschler, who has expertise in communications and gender studies, from the September proceedings. Her report surmised that everyone who sees “GRABHER” will make a direct correlation to sexual assault. Cameron previously argued the report falls short of being legally acceptable as expert testimony.

A date for the report ruling has not been set.