Giving the middle finger is a ‘God-given right’, Canadian judge rules

For whatsoever reason, giving someone the middle finger is frequently associated with rudeness and a lack of manners. A Canadian court, however, has a slightly different perspective on the same.

According to a judge’s recent decision, giving someone the finger is part of the right to freedom of expression under the Canadian constitution, according to AFP.

“To be abundantly clear, it is not a crime to give someone the finger,” Judge Dennis Galiatsatos of the French-speaking province of Quebec noted in a ruling dated February 24.

A prosecution against a man suspected of pestering his neighbour in a Montreal neighbourhood was notably dismissed by the judge.

“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,” Judge Galiatsatos said, referring to Canada’s Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

About The Case

Neall Epstein, a 45-year-old teacher and father of two who lives in Montreal, was taken into custody in May 2021 following an altercation with Michael Naccache, 34. Threatening behaviour and illegal harassment were alleged against Epstein.

Naccache, who had earlier complained about his kids playing outside by the end of the outbreak, confronted Epstein as he was making his way home one day. Epstein allegedly lifted two middle fingers and continued going after Epstein and Naccache exchanged profanity.

Epstein allegedly made a throat-slashing gesture as well, prompting Naccache to fear for his life. But, the judge thought Naccache’s claim was baseless.

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