Now he has a
record of more than two dozen criminal driving
convictions — 16 related to drinking and
According to the OPP, the court’s
decision to seize Mr. Eno’s vehicle — even
though it was heavily damaged in the rollover —
is a first in Ontario.
“We’ve seized and forfeited vehicles for
other offences, but it is certainly a first for
impaired driving,” said OPP Det. Staff Sgt. Tom
Murphy of the provincial asset forfeiture unit.
“From our perspective, it’s great news.”
Staff Sgt. Murphy said police hope the
seizure, made under a section of the Criminal
Code enacted in 2002 that lets the courts seize
property that aids in the commission of an
indictable offence, will be repeated in other
“We are now looking for the tools that
allowed the crime to take place. Without that
impaired driver’s vehicle, you’ve got no crime,”
Det. Staff Sgt. Murphy said. “To prevent that
offence from taking place, it is important to
seize that vehicle.”
The seizure was voluntary, since the truck
was virtually worthless, aside from parts and
scrap metal. Mr. Eno, who had already been
handed a lifetime ban from operating a motor
vehicle, would have fought back if the truck was
salvageable, his defence lawyer said Tuesday.
In that case, Mike March said, the truck
could have been used by another driver, such as
Mr. Eno’s common-law spouse, or sold.
“I just didn’t see it as a huge issue when
Mr. Eno had such a terrible record,” he said.
“We treated it in the nature of a fine. In the
very special and unique circumstances of this
case, it was hardly worth the fight.”
According to Staff Sgt. Murphy, the
application by Pembroke Crown attorney Jason
Nicol to seek the seizure of Mr. Eno’s vehicle
as “offence-related property” was only the
second time such a motion was sought.
Police and the Crown first attempted to seize
a chronic drunk driver’s vehicle in 2006 in
Durham Region, but the judge ruled a break in
the accused’s criminal record did not justify
the forfeiture, said Staff Sgt. Murphy.
Police seized a vehicle from a repeat
impaired driver in Burlington in January, but in
that case, the driver willingly agreed to give
it up without a court order, he said.
Staff Sgt. Murphy said prosecutors were
initially reluctant to try to seize vehicles in
the case of chronic driving offenders because of
issues with storage during often-lengthy legal
The province has since found a way to store
them, he said.
Once the vehicle is ordered forefeited, the
Crown makes arrangements to sell it, Staff Sgt.
Murphy said. The profits from the sale then
return to government accounts. According to
Staff Sgt. Murphy, police do not receive any
money from the sale of the vehicle.
While police believe the court’s decision
sends a strong message to other chronic
offenders that they could lose their vehicles if
they continue to break the law, Staff Sgt.
Murphy stressed that the law doesn’t apply to
“We are certainly not going to seize the
vehicle of a person who is charged for the very
first time with impaired driving and there is no
previous history,” said Staff Sgt. Murphy.
“There has to be a lot more to it. There has to
be a significant criminal record and the
circumstances that allow us to consider taking
that motor vehicle.”
Brendan Crawley, spokesman for the Ontario
Ministry of the Attorney General, said
prosecutors will continue using the law.
“The Crown used it successfully in this case,
and as with every legal tool available to the
Crown, we will use it in all appropriate
circumstances,” he said.
With files from Andrew Thomson