Man Fined £800 For Filming Pug Giving 'Nazi Salutes'

by Antonio Miles April 24, 2018, 4:06
Man Fined £800 For Filming Pug Giving 'Nazi Salutes'

A man has been fined £800 after he posted footage on YouTube of a pet dog giving Nazi salutes.

Meechan taught the pug, named Buddha, to respond with the Nazi salute when prompted by statements such as "Heil Hitler" and "Gas the Jews".

Meechan, of Coatbridge, denied any wrongdoing but was convicted at Airdrie Sheriff Court, North Lanarkshire last month of committing a crime under the Communications Act which was aggravated by religious prejudice.

Sheriff Derek O'Carroll said the video "contained menacing, anti-Semitic and racist material".

Fining Meechan £800, the sheriff told him: "The centrepiece 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". Despite the fairly insignificant punishment, campaigners say it's a violation of free-speech and that any kind of conviction, regardless of whether jail time was spared or not, can be counted as a defeat.

He said: "Honestly, I don't hate anyone, the whole objective of this was just to annoy my girlfriend". Meechan has maintained that the video was intended as a joke, and he was simply trying to annoy his girlfriend, who owned the pug.

Meechan posted videos of the dog performing the trick on YouTube.

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Meechan's lawyer, Ross Brown, said, "This court made Mark Meechan a criminal".

He added that while the right to freedom of expression is very important, "in all modern democratic countries the law necessarily places some limits on that right".

"A joke can be 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".

Following his conviction, Meechan received support from British far-right figureheads, as well as comedians including Ricky Gervais.

Meechan's conviction was welcomed by the Scottish Council of Jewish Communities, who also claimed they received hundreds of anti-Semitic messages online after their director, Ephraim Borowski, was called to give evidence at the trial.

"I think the police have used the Jewish community in this instance to silence people and they've actually tried to tarnish the Jewish community as though they can't take a joke", he said outside the court.

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