New Delhi: Giving your neighbour the middle finger may not be polite but is protected as part of a person’s right to freedom of expression under the Canadian constitution, a judge has ruled.
As per AFP, in a 26-page decision Judge Dennis Galiatsatos of the French-speaking province of Quebec dismissed a case against a man for harassing his neighbour in a Montreal suburb.
As per the report, the accused, Neall Epstein 45-year-old teacher and father of two, was arrested by police in May 2021 for threatening and flipping off his neighbour in Beaconsfield, Quebec.
According to The Canadian Press, Galiatsatos, in his ruling, wrote that not only was Epstein not guilty, but that he was arrested and prosecuted was a bewildering injustice.
“To be abundantly clear, it is not a crime to give someone the finger,” he said in a ruling dated February 24, AFP reported.
“Flipping the proverbial bird is a God-given, charter-enshrined right that belongs to every red-blooded Canadian,” he added, referring to Canada’s charter of rights and freedoms.
Galiatsatos ruled that the gesture “may not be civil, it may not be polite, it may not be gentlemanly… nevertheless, it does not trigger criminal liability,” reported AFP.
Epstein flipped off his neighbour, 34-year-old, Michael Naccache, with whom he has had previous conflict, as per The Canadian Press. Naccache swore at Epstein and threatened him while holding a power tool “in a menacing way,” the judge found. To this Epstien replied with two middle fingers.
Naccache further alleged that Epstein also made a throat-slashing gesture and said he feared Epstein would try to kill him, claims that the judge did not accept.
Galiatsatos then said that despite common vernacular, “cases aren’t actually thrown out”, but that in this matter “the court is inclined to actually take the file and throw it out the window.”
“Alas,” he said, “the courtrooms of the Montreal courthouse do not have windows”, he was quoted by AFP.