MONTREAL, Canada (WTVO) — A Canandian judge says even though it may not be a polite gesture, giving someone the middle finger is not a criminal act.
According to The Guardian, Judge Dennis Galiatsatos dismissed a case brought against a man accused of harassing his neighbor.
The man, a teacher named Neall Epstein, was arrested in May 2021 for death threats and “criminal harassment” against his neighbor, Michael Naccache, in Beaconsfield, Quebec.
Court documents revealed that after a front yard spat last year, Epstein told Naccache to “F*** off,” flipping his middle finger as he walked away.
According to the evidence presented at the trial, video surveillance footage “clearly shows that Epstein is looking in the complainant’s direction and giving him the finger, sometimes with both hands.”
Epstein was later arrested.
“To be abundantly clear, it is not a crime to give someone the finger,” Galiatsatos said in his ruling. “Flipping the proverbial bird is a God-given, charter-enshrined right that belongs to every red-blooded Canadian.”
“Being told to ‘f*** off’ should not prompt a call to 911,” the judge admonished. “The complainants are free to clutch their pearls in the face of such an insult. However, the police department and the 911 dispatching service have more important priorities to address.”
He added flipping someone the bird “may not be civil, it may not be polite, it may not be gentlemanly … Nevertheless, it does not trigger criminal liability.”
“The court is inclined to actually take the file and throw it out the window,” he continued. “Alas, the courtrooms of the Montreal courthouse do not have windows.”