Man fined for hate crime after filming pug’s ‘Nazi salutes’

Mark MeechanImage copyright Press Team
Image caption Mark Meechan’s clip was viewed more than three million times on YouTube

A man who filmed a pet dog giving Nazi salutes before putting the footage on YouTube has been fined £800.

Mark Meechan, 30, recorded his girlfriend’s pug, Buddha, responding to statements such as “Sieg Heil” by raising its paw.

The clip was viewed more than three million times on YouTube.

Meechan, of Coatbridge, North Lanarkshire, was sentenced at Airdrie Sheriff Court after being found guilty of committing a hate crime last month.

He had denied any wrong-doing and insisted he made the video, which was posted in April 2016, to annoy his girlfriend.

Image copyright Press Team
Image caption Meechan with his girlfriend’s pug, Buddha

But Sheriff Derek O’Carroll found him guilty of a charge under the Communications Act that he posted a video on social media and YouTube which was grossly offensive because it was “anti-semitic and racist in nature” and was aggravated by religious prejudice.

There was a small demonstration outside court by protesters claiming the case went against the principle of freedom of speech.

Comedian Ricky Gervais had taken to Twitter to comment on the case after guilty the verdict.

He tweeted: “A man has been convicted in a UK 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.”

Image caption There was a small protest outside court

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