Count Dankula sentence: Scottish comedian Mark Meechan who taught his girlfriend's pug to perform Nazi salute fined £800

Eleanor Rose
Evening Standard

A Scottish comedian who shared a film of a pet dog giving Nazi salutes as he said "Sieg Heil" has been fined £800 for hate crime.

Vlogger Mark Meechan, 30, of Coatbridge in Lanarkshire, taught his girlfriend's pet pug to react to the phrase, which he repeated 23 times in a "grossly offensive" video seen by the court.

The video also showed the dog "watching" a TV recording of Adolf Hitler speaking at the 1936 Olympics, during which he asked the dog, "Do you want to gas the Jews?"

The clip was watched more than three million times on YouTube. Meechan was arrested after sharing the footage in April 2016.

The comedian shared the video online (Youtube/Count Dankula)
The comedian shared the video online (Youtube/Count Dankula)

Meecham, who uses the name Count Dankula onine, said the film had been taken out of context.

He told Airdrie Sheriff Court that he made the video to annoy his girlfriend Suzanne Kelly, 29, and denied any wrongdoing.

Speaking after being convicted last month, he said: "There has been a huge miscarriage of justice.

"I think it is a very, very dark day in terms of freedom of speech and freedom of expression.

"One of the primary things that must be considered in cases like this is context and intent and today context and intent were completely disregarded.

"For the system to disregard such things means that your actions no longer matter - they decide what your context and intent is.

"For any comedians making jokes in Britain, I'd be very, very worried about your future because - the context and intent - apparently they don't matter anymore." ​

Meechan was convicted of committing a crime under the Communications Act which was aggravated by religious prejudice.

Additional reporting by Press Association

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