Scottish Man Who Taught Girlfriend's Dog To Do Nazi Salute Is Fined

Saul Bowman
April 24, 2018

A YouTuber convicted of hate crime for uploading a video of a dog performing a Nazi salute has been fined £800 over the incident.

The £800 fine comes after concern that the Scottish judge could have hit the online comedian with the full potential sentence possible under Communications Act of 2003, which could have seen Meechan jailed. He said the dog was filmed responding to the phrase "gas the Jews", which was repeated 23 times in the video.

"The centerpiece of your video consists of you repeating the phrase, "Gas the Jews" over and over again as a command to a dog, which then reacts", Sheriff Derek O'Carroll said in his sentencing, according to British media.

Meechan later posted a video in which he apologized for the original dog clips, saying it was a joke and that he has no such political leanings.

The 30-year-old from Coatbridge, North Lanarkshire, had also had the backing of Tommy Robinson, the former football hooligan and ex-leader of the far-right English Defence League. "You intended the video to be as offensive as you could make it and you posted it on your own unrestricted publicly accessible video channel".

During the trial, Meechan denied he was anti-Semitic and reiterated that the video was nothing more than a joke to annoy his girlfriend and should not be considered a hate crime.

The sheriff who heard the case said that although freedom of speech is important, the law "necessarily" has to limit it to some extent.

He said his client was concerned about the impact his conviction may have on comedians such as John Cleese, Frankie Boyle and Ricky Gervais if they were to come to Scotland due to the material referenced in some of their acts.

Meecham has said he will appeal his conviction, saying it sets a unsafe legal precedent against freedom of expression. "Because in 1940s Germany, that would have got you arrested and murdered for taking the piss".

He tweeted: "A man has been convicted in a United Kingdom court of making a joke that was deemed "grossly offensive".

"If you don't believe in a person's right to say things that you might find 'grossly offensive, ' then you don't believe in Freedom of Speech".

Even before Mark Meechan arrived for his sentence, dozens of free speech campaigners were outside the building, protesting his innocence.

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