Giving the finger is a "God-given right," rules judge

Montreal, Canada teacher Neall Epstein, 45, got into the latest of many arguments with his neighbor Michael Naccache , 34, that culminated with Naccache allegedly holding a power tool in a "menacing way" and threatening him. Epstein responded by flipping him the double birds and walked away. Police later arrested Epstein. But when the case finally made it to court, Quebec Judge Dennis Galiatsatos not only ruled in Epstein's favor but was annoyed that he was even arrested. From CTV News:

"To be abundantly clear, it is not a crime to give someone the finger," the judge wrote in his Feb. 24 ruling. "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." […]

Naccache alleged that Epstein also made a throat-slashing gesture and said he feared Epstein would come back and try to kill him — claims that the judge did not accept.

"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 neighbours are killers-in-waiting," Galiatsatos wrote.

The incident was the culmination of a series of interactions between the two men and members of their families. Naccache claimed those interactions amounted to months of harassment, but the judge found them to be innocent behaviour.