A Canadian judge has officially declared flipping the bird a “God-given right” following a dispute between neighbors that saw one person arrested and slapped with criminal charges for doing that very thing.
“To be abundantly clear, it is not a crime to give someone the finger,” Canadian Judge Dennis Galiatsatos wrote in the Feb. 24 ruling. “Flipping the proverbial bird is a God-given, Charter-enshrined right that belongs to every red-blooded Canadian. It may not be civil, it may not be polite, it may not be gentlemanly. Nevertheless, it does not trigger criminal liability.”
The ruling came after Neall Epstein, a 45-year-old teacher in Quebec, was arrested by police in May 2021 after his neighbor, 34-year-old Michael Naccache, accused him of “uttering death threats” and engaging in “criminal harassment,” CBC reported. The incident, which followed a long conflict between the two neighbors, came to a head when Naccache reportedly threatened Epstein while holding a power tool, to which Epstein responded by holding up two middle fingers and walking away.
Naccache also alleged to authorities that Epstein made a slashing motion across his throat, which he took to mean as a threat against his life, the outlet reported.
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“On what basis did he fear that Mr. Epstein was a potential murderer? The fact that he went for quiet walks with his kids? The fact that he socialized with the other young parents on the street? If that is the standard, we should all fear that our neighbours are killers in waiting. Hide your kids, hide your wives. We are all in mortal danger,” Galiatsatos continued in his ruling. (RELATED: Woman Allegedly Runs Over Neighbor Because Of Trash Can Feud)
Galiatsatos added that Naccache was welcome to “clutch [his] pearls” in the wake of the rude gesture, but wrote that police have more important issues to worry about.
“In the modern-day vernacular, people often refer to a criminal case ‘being thrown out’. Obviously, this is little more than a figurative expression. Cases aren’t actually thrown out, in the literal or physical sense,” Galiatsatos said of the case. “Nevertheless, in the specific circumstances of this case, the Court is inclined to actually take the file and throw it out the window, which is the only way to adequately express my bewilderment with the fact that Mr. Epstein was subjected to an arrest and a fulsome criminal prosecution.”
“Alas, the courtrooms of the Montreal courthouse do not have windows,” the judge concluded.