Man who allegedly filmed his Nazi-saluting dog faces hate crime charge

A MAN who filmed a pet dog giving Nazi salutes before putting the footage on YouTube should be convicted of committing a hate crime, a court has been told.
Mark Meechan appeared at Airdre Sheriff CourtMark Meechan appeared at Airdre Sheriff Court
Mark Meechan appeared at Airdre Sheriff Court

Mark Meechan, 30, recorded his girlfriend’s pug, Buddha, responding to statements such as ‘gas the Jews’ and ‘Sieg Heil’ by raising its paw, a court heard.

But after complaints about the content, police were called in and he was arrested for allegedly committing a hate crime by uploading the footage on to the popular video sharing website in April 2016.

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The original clip had been viewed more than three million times on YouTube.

Meechan, of Coatbridge, Lanarkshire, is on trial at Airdrie Sheriff Court and denies any wrong doing. He insists he made the video to annoy his girlfriend Suzanne Kelly, 29.

Prosecutors allege he communicated material that would cause fear and alarm and stir up hatred on religious grounds by posting a clip which was ‘anti-semitic in nature’ to YouTube.

He also faces an alternative charge of posting a video on social media and YouTube which was grossly offensive because it was ‘anti-semitic and racist in nature’ and the prosecution claimed it was aggravated by religious prejudice.

The court has heard prosecutors ask Sheriff Derek O’Carroll to convict Meechan after branding his actions an ‘odious criminal act’.

The depute fiscal said: “The video contains footage of the accused stating 23 times in total the words ‘gas the Jews’ in a comparatively short period of time.

“He accepts he was involved in editing and producing the footage and managed to distil it down to a short period of time.

“This is not some two and a half hour production with many shards every half hour, this is a toxic distillation of what he may call the best bits of his video.

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“He has made very, very, sure the phrase ‘gas the Jews’ is repeated over and over and over again.

“He has constructed the video and he accepts that within a short time frame the noxious phrase is uttered 23 times by him.

“The phrase ‘gas the Jews’ contains a clear threat of incitement to carry out a seriously violent act.

“This is an exoneration to gas the Jews, people who belong to the Jewish community.

“He might just as well have said ‘murder the Jews’ that is the effect of the toxic phrase ‘gas the Jews’.

“The historical fact of what happened to millions of Jews in a way that frankly is difficult for a civilised society or people to comprehend.

“Any reasonable person would suffer fear or alarm having heard that awful phrase uttered over and over and over again.”

The prosecutor added: “Mr Meechan said on oath he thought the phrase ‘gas the Jews’ was one of the most horrible phrases he could think of.

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“I have him noted that the phrase was one of the most vile things that a Nazi would use.

“This was an odious criminal act that was dressed up to look like a joke.

“He is a highly intelligent and articulate individual, we are not dealing with some callow youth who is inexperienced with what is going on in the world.

“The Crown contention is that the inclusion of the dog is an attempt to muddy the waters around him making, producing and posting the video.

“He says that he knows the context of the video but in a criminal court in Scotland he does not decide the context of anything, the court decides the context.”

Meechan had earlier told the court he only ever intended the video to be seen by a small group of friends on his YouTube account and insisted he still found it funny.

In the video the dog is seen perking up when it hears the statements and appears to lift its paw to the ‘Sieg Heil’ command in the video and is also filmed watching a rally led by Hitler at the 1936 Olympic Games in Berlin.

The trial continues.