CourtInternationalIndiaAfricaResorting to that non-verbal equivalent of expressing contempt for someone – showing the middle finger – is commonly considered obscene. Interestingly, “flipping the bird”, according to research done by some anthropologists, has a proud history, going all the way back to ancient Greece, and ancient Romans were not averse to using it.Flipping the finger at someone in a fit of pique “is not a crime”, though hardly polite, a Canadian judge has ruled, according to local media.”To be abundantly clear, it is not a crime to give someone the finger… 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 Dennis Galiatsatos of Quebec wrote in his ruling.His judgement was delivered as he dismissed a criminal harassment case against a man in a Montreal suburb.Neall Epstein, a 45-year-old teacher and father of two daughters, was arrested by police on 18 May 2021 after a run-in with a neighbor who lives in the same street as him in Beaconsfield, Quebec. The two had squabbled before, and on this occasion Michael Naccache swore at Epstein and threatened him while brandishing a power tool “in a menacing way”, according to court documents. In response, Epstein flipped both his middle fingers – a double bird – and strode away. However, his opponent later claimed that Epstein had made a throat-slashing gesture at him.
"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 neighbors are killers-in-waiting," the judge was quoted as writing.
According to Judge Galiatsatos, it was “deplorable” that the complainants in question had “weaponized the criminal justice system in an attempt to exert revenge on an innocent man“.Furthermore, as he acquitted Epstein, the judge confessed he had been strongly inclined to literally throw the case out, saying:
"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."
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