In Depth

Count Dankula: YouTube prankster fined £800 for ‘Nazi pug’ hate crime

Mark Meechan says conviction for ‘shock humour’ clip ‘sets a really dangerous precedent’

A YouTuber convicted of hate crime for uploading a video of a dog performing a Nazi salute has been fined £800 over the incident.

Mark Meechan “recorded his girlfriend's pug, Buddha, responding to statements such as 'gas the Jews' and 'Sieg Heil' by raising its paw”, The Daily Telegraph reports.

Meechan, who posts on YouTube under the handle Count Dankula, uploaded the video to the platform in April 2016, where it was viewed three million times, Sky News reports.

However, the clip also attracted the attention of police, and Meechan was arrested and charged with committing a hate crime.

In March last year, at Airdrie Sheriff Court in Lanarkshire, Meechan pleaded not guilty to breaching the Communications Act by sending a “grossly offensive” message, aggravated by religious prejudice.

The 30-year-old told the court that the video was “shock humour” intended to annoy his girlfriend - although presiding Sheriff Derek O’Carroll noted that she did not follow the YouTube account in question.

O’Carroll found Meechan guilty of sharing what he called “grossly offensive, anti-Semitic and racist” content.

At a sentencing hearing today, the sheriff declined to impose a custodial sentence, instead fining Meechan £800.

Pro-free speech protesters - including former EDL leader Tommy Robinson - gathered outside the court to show their support for Meechan.

Speaking to reporters after the sentencing, Meechan said his conviction set a “really dangerous precedent for people to say things, their context to be completely ignored and then they can be convicted for it”.

The YouTuber says he intends to file an appeal and will not pay the fine.

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