A man who posted a video of his girlfriend’s dog doing a Nazi salute on YouTube has been been convicted over the “grossly offensive” footage.
Mark Meechan, 29, who goes by the name Count Dankula, was arrested in April 2017 after footage of his girlfriend’s pug appearing to respond to Nazi slogans such as ‘gas the Jews’ went viral.
In a case that attracted widespread attention, Meechan was found guilty on Tuesday at Airdrie Sheriff Court of a charge under the Communications Act 2003.
Sheriff Derek O’Carroll dubbed the video “grossly offensive” and said he did not believe Meechan’s defence that he had made it only to annoy his girlfriend.
Prosecutors accused Meechan of posting material that was ‘anti-semitic and racist in nature’ and was aggravated by religious prejudice.
In a tweet on Tuesday, Meechan confirmed he had been convicted, later adding that he is due to be sentenced in April.
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Outside court, Meechan said: “There has been a huge miscarriage of justice.
“I think it’s a very, very dark day in regards to freedom of speech and freedom of expression.
“The thing that was most worrying is that one of the primary things in any action that is to be considered is things like context and intent, and today context and intent were completely disregarded.
“For the system to actually disregard such things as that means that your actions no longer matter, they decide what your context and intent is.
“For any comedians in Britain, I would be very worried about making jokes in future because your context and intent behind them apparently don’t matter anymore
“I made the video to annoy my girlfriend and that is the reality.
“If they don’t wish to see it then there isn’t really much I can do about that. That literally is fact, and if they don’t want to consider that fact then it’s not up to me.
“It was a joke. A joke made to annoy my girlfriend and I stand by that.”
At the time, Meechan apologised profusely over the offence caused by the video, titled ‘M8 yer dugs a Nazi’, which wracked up more than 3 million views.
He said: “I am not a racist at all, anybody who knows me could tell you that. I’m freaked out because everyone’s going to actually think that I hate Jews now and I don’t at all. I’m kind of panicked about it.
“Honestly I don’t hate anyone. The whole purpose of this was just to annoy my girlfriend.
“I am so sorry to the Jewish community for any offence I have caused them. This was never my intention and I apologise.”
The case has attracted attention from those supporting the right to free speech.
Comedian Ricky Gervais tweeted: ‘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.’
Gervais had previously discussed the case with David Baddiel, the Jewish comedian who also defended Meechan’s right to be offensive.
His case picked up support from personalities in the alt-right, such as Infowars’ Alex Jones. On Tuesday, former leader of the EDL Tommy Robinson travelled to Scotland for the court case, saying it was “huge free speech issue”.