A man who filmed his partner’s pet dog giving Nazi salutes while he said “sieg heil” and “gas the Jews” has been fined £800 (around US$1,120 at the current GBP/USD exchange rate) by the Airdrie sheriff court on Monday, the Independent reported.
Mr. Meechan claims he made the video to raise awareness about free speech and to annoy his partner. He told reporters outside the court today that the decision sets a “dangerous precedent.”
The sheriff who heard the case said that although freedom of speech is important, the law “necessarily” has to limit it to some extent.
READ MORE: The Slow Death of Free Speech in the UK
Sentencing Mr. Meechan, Sheriff Derek O’Carroll said “The centerpiece of your video consists of you repeating the phrase ‘gas the Jews’ over and over again as a command to a dog, which then reacts. You use the command ‘sieg heil’, having trained the dog to raise its paw in response and the video shows a clip of a Nuremberg rally and a flashing image of Hitler with strident music.”
“On the whole evidence, including your own, applying the law as made by parliament and interpreted by the most senior courts in this land, I found it proved that the video you posted, using a public communications network, was grossly offensive and contained menacing, anti-Semitic and racist material.”
A number of campaigners and supporters of the defendant, including former leader of the English Defense League (EDL) Tommy Robinson, were present at the court today.
His exit from the building was met with applause and cheers from dozens of supporters.
Many took to Twitter to share their thoughts on his sentencing and the wider issue of the limitations of free speech.
Sentencing: @CountDankulaTV fined £800 for teaching his dog to "Nazi salute" for lolz.— Bullshit Man (@bullshit_hero) April 23, 2018
Better than spending time in prison, but £800 because people can't take a joke is pretty bloody steep. https://t.co/uPnF6ucCPm
This was not a case of accidental insult. He said the words 'want to gas the Jews' over an over, smiling, laughing, and without flinching. Horrifying. Can anyone say anything now and claim it was just comedic? His 'work' is built on causing insult/shock. He was fully aware.— Claudia Boleyn (@ClaudiaBoleyn) April 23, 2018
Count Dankula was given an £800 fine after recording a video of his girlfriend’s dog raising his paw for a treat in a way that some felt resembled a Nazi salute. Considering he was facing jail time, this is actually a relief that he was only given a fine. Sad it got this far.— Joey M. (YourVoice™ America) (@JTM_YVA) April 23, 2018