Man fined for Nazi pug video lodges appeal against conviction

Mark Meechan leaving Airdrie Sherriff Court, with girlfriend Suzanne Kelly, where he was fined after being found guilty of a hate crime. Picture: Centre Press
Mark Meechan leaving Airdrie Sherriff Court, with girlfriend Suzanne Kelly, where he was fined after being found guilty of a hate crime. Picture: Centre Press
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A man from Coatbridge who was fined after filming a pet dog giving Nazi salutes has lodged an appeal against his conviction and sentence.

Mark Meechan, 30, was ordered to pay £800 after recording his girlfriend’s pug, Buddha, responding to statements such as ‘gas the Jews’ and ‘Sieg Heil’ by raising its paw.

He vowed to appeal his conviction and sentence arguing it set a ‘dangerous precedent’ and put limitations on free speech.

Meechan’s appeal has now been lodged at Airdrie Sheriff Court.

A GoFundMe campaign was launched last week and smashed its target as more than 7000 supporters from across the globe answered his call for help with donations topping £157,000.

Meechan, of Coatbridge, Lanarkshire, said the fundraising target was set under advice from his lawyer to pay for ‘top representatives’ to take on the case.

• READ MORE: Man fined for Nazi pug video raises more than £100k for appeal

Meechan, who goes by the online name Count Dankula, says he will be transparent with all funds raised.

He told his Twitter followers: “The paperwork’s already been filed. Money will be placed into escrow run by law firm.

“Any remainder after appeal will be given to charity. I personally won’t be seeing a penny.”

Meechan also said he had donated £800 to the Glasgow Children’s Hospital Charity instead of paying his fine.

He insists he made the video to annoy his girlfriend Suzanne Kelly, 29, but was convicted under the Communications Act after a trial.

Sheriff Derek O’Carroll found him guilty of posting 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.

Dozens of supporters of Meechan, including former English Defence League leader Tommy Robinson, were at the court for the sentencing hearing.

The original clip had been viewed more than three million times on YouTube and sparked debate over free speech with comedians Ricky Gervais and David Baddiel defending Meechan for posting the video.

In the video Buddha 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.

Speaking earlier Meechan said: “On the 23rd of April 2018 I was sentenced to an £800 fine after being found guilty of being ‘grossly offensive’ under section 127 of the Offensive Communications Act 2003 due to me creating a clearly comedic video where I trained my girlfriend’s pug to be a Nazi.

“The only way for the court to secure a conviction was to willingly ignore the clear context of the video, which was explained twice, in the video itself.

“This conviction will be used as an example to convict other people over the things they say and the jokes they make.

“It sets a standard where courts will be able to wilfully ignore the context and intent of a persons words and actions in order to punish them and brand them as criminals.”

A spokeswoman for Airdrie Sheriff Court confirmed Meechan had lodged his appeal.