A Canadian judge says giving someone the middle finger is a ‘God-given right’ as he ridicules the decision to prosecute the teacher, 45, who made a face at a neighbor who threatened him with a power tool
- Neall Epstein, a 45-year-old teacher, was arrested in May 2021 outside his Montreal home after a fight with his 34-year-old neighbor Michael Naccache.
- Naccache cursed at Epstein and threatened him with a power tool: Epstein responded by holding up two middle fingers and the police were called.
- On February 24, a Montreal judge threw out the case, writing that Epstein’s actions were not a crime and calling the decision to prosecute “deplorable.”
A Canadian judge has thrown out a case brought against a man who waved his neighbor with the middle finger, describing the gesture as a “God-given chartered right” and calling the decision to prosecute “deplorable.”
Neall Epstein, a 45-year-old teacher, was arrested in May 2021 outside his Montreal home after a fight with his 34-year-old neighbor Michael Naccache.
Epstein was charged with criminal harassment and making threats.
But on February 24, Judge Dennis Galiatsatos dismissed the case, saying it was a mistake to prosecute Epstein.
“To be very clear, it is not a crime to give someone the finger,” he wrote, according to documents obtained by CBC.
‘Moving the proverbial bird is a God-given right enshrined in the Charter that belongs to all red-blooded Canadians.
It may not be courteous, it may not be courteous, it may not be chivalrous.
‘However, it does not generate criminal liability.’
Judge Dennis Galiatsatos last month dismissed charges of criminal harassment and threats brought against 45-year-old Neall Epstein.
Epstein was returning home when he ran into Naccache, who had previously complained about Epstein’s children playing outside, late in the pandemic.
Naccache cursed Epstein and threatened him with a power tool, making a “threatening gesture.”
Epstein responded by holding up two middle fingers and kept walking.
Naccache alleged that Epstein also made a throat-slitting gesture, saying that he feared Epstein would come back and try to kill him.
The judge found Naccache’s claim that he feared for his life to be unfounded.
On what basis did you fear that Mr. Epstein was a potential murderer? Galiatsatos asked.
‘The fact that he went for a leisurely walk with his children? The fact that she socialized with other young parents on the street?
“If that’s the standard, we should all fear that our neighbors are killers in waiting.”
Galiatsatos said he wanted to throw the case out the window frustrated
The judge described Epstein as a “doting father of two young daughters who committed no crime.”
He called it “deplorable” that Naccache “weaponized the criminal justice system in an attempt to exact revenge on an innocent man.”
The judge added that he wished he could literally dismiss the case.
He wrote: “In the specific circumstances of this case, the Court is inclined to take the file and throw it out the window, which is the only way to adequately express my bewilderment that Mr. Epstein was arrested and a criminal prosecution exaggerated.