Showing the middle finger counted as freedom of expression in Canada

Judge Dennis Galiatsatos of Quebec, Canada, in a 26-page ruling dismissed the case against a man accused of harassing his neighbor in the suburb of Montreal.

“To be clear, pointing a finger at someone is not a crime. It may not be civil, it may not be polite, it may not be gentlemanly … it still does not trigger criminal liability,” he said in a February 24 decision.

Defendant Neall Epstein, a teacher and father of two, was arrested by police in May 2021 for threatening and snapping at his neighbor in Beaconsfield, Quebec.

The judge added that despite the general opinion, “the case was not actually dismissed”, but that “the court tended not to take the case seriously” on this issue.

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