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Appeal tribunal orders police to return Guelph woman's vehicle

‘I find that the appellant established, on a balance of probabilities, exceptional hardship’
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A Guelph resident whose vehicle was seized by police last month has experienced “exceptional hardship” as a result, the Licence Appeal Tribunal (LAT) ruled in ordering the vehicle’s return.

The woman, who was not driving when the vehicle was impounded for a 45-day period on May 10 for a “Criminal Code-related reason,” attends weekly pain clinic appointments in Kitchener to receive nerve block injections for chronic back pain, explains the June 16 ruling.

“The appellant has established, on a balance of probabilities, that she does not have an alternative to her impounded vehicle,” wrote LAT member Laura Hodgson. “She is not able to take public transit and her limited income precludes other options, such as taxis, Uber or renting a vehicle. The appellant has established that, in the circumstances, there is no alternative to the impounded vehicle.

"In these circumstances, I accept that the appellant not having the impounded vehicle results in a threat to her health and safety."

The ruling, which followed a June 16 teleconference, doesn’t indicate where the vehicle was impounded or by which police force.

Since the impoundment, the woman has missed two pain clinic appointments and was able to attend one with the assistance of her cousin who lives in Kitchener. As explained in the ruling, that required a three-day process that saw her picked up from Guelph one day, the appointment on the next, and returned to her home the following day.

She also uses her vehicle to take her 16-year-old daughter to periodic appointments related to her rheumatoid arthritis, as well as to take her stepfather, who lives with her, to medical appointments at a cancer clinic in Hamilton.