Brit Who Filmed Dog Giving Nazi Salutes Fined Over $1000

Dankula faces sentencing today

Dankula faces sentencing today

A Scottish man who filmed a dog appearing to give Nazi salutes has been convicted of a hate crime and fined.

The judge presiding over the case, Sheriff Derek O'Carroll, was not to be swayed however and imposed Meechan with the hefty fine anyway. He said the dog was filmed responding to the phrase "gas the Jews", which was repeated 23 times in the video.

"I also found it proved that the video contained anti-Semitic, and racist material, in that it explicitly and exclusively referred to Jews, the Holocaust and the role of the Nazis in the death of six million Jews in a grossly offensive manner".

Meechan, who was arrested in 2016, has since apologised to the Jewish community for the video, which he says he made to annoy his girlfriend.

In March a year ago, at Airdrie Sheriff Court in Lanarkshire, Meechan pleaded not guilty to breaching the Communications Act by sending a "grossly offensive" message, aggravated by religious prejudice.

He added: "The fact that you claim in the video, and elsewhere, that the video was intended only to annoy your girlfriend and as a joke and that you did not intend to be racist is of little assistance to you".

"A man has been convicted in a United Kingdom court of making a joke that was deemed 'grossly offensive, '" Ricky Gervais wrote on Twitter after the conviction.

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

Meechan, of Coatbridge, denied any wrongdoing but was convicted at the same court last month of committing a crime under the Communications Act which was aggravated by religious prejudice.

Meechan said: "This is a really risky precedent to set - for people to say things and their context to be completely ignored and then they can be convicted for it".

"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.

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

"We are grateful to the court for recognizing that shouting "Gas the Jews" over and over again is not a joke, and that claiming that something is a joke does not make it any less offensive", the group said in a statement.

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

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