- Mark Meechan, 30, filmed clip of dog raising its paw to statements like ‘Sieg Heil’
- Told a court the video was intended to annoy his girlfriend, who finds dog ‘cute’
- But he has been accused of spreading ‘anti-Semitic’ material on video website
- Meechan charged with posting anti-Semitic material when clip emerged in April
- Faces alternative charge of posting a video online that is ‘anti-semitic in nature’
- Meechan denies all charges against him and the trial is continuing
A man who filmed his girlfriend’s pet pug giving Nazi salutes and put the footage on YouTube has denied committing a hate crime.
Mark Meechan, 30, from Coatbridge, Lanarkshire, recorded the dog, Buddha, responding to statements such as ‘gas the Jews’ and ‘Sieg Heil’ by raising its paw.
He was arrested after uploading the footage in April last year – but insists it was all to annoy his 29-year-old girlfriend, Suzanne Kelly.
Mark Meechan, 30, from Coatbridge, Lanarkshire, recorded the dog, Buddha, responding to statements such as ‘gas the Jews’ and ‘Sieg Heil’ by raising its paw. Pictured, Meechan and his partner Suzanne Kelly leaving court today
Meechan told Airdrie Sheriff Court he only intended the video to be seen by a small group of friends on his YouTube account.
‘I would categorise that video as comedy, a private joke,’ he said. ‘I didn’t intend for it to be found, just to be seen by Sue and my friends.
‘I knew my friends would not be offended because they have the same sense of humour as me and they know a joke when they see one.
‘I provide clear context as to the intention and purpose of the video at the start of it and my intention was to play a prank on my girlfriend.
Mark Meechan, 30,(pictured yesterday outside Airdrie Sheriff Court) from Coatbridge, Lanarkshire, recorded the dog responding to statements such as ‘gas the Jews’ and ‘Sieg Heil’ by raising its paw
‘I’m not anti-semitic and never have been and would consider anyone who is to be quite ignorant if they hold those views.
‘The actual act of the Holocaust was extremely gruesome and absolutely terrible, and Jews suffered terribly at the hands of Hitler and that regime. I have always held that opinion.’
Meechan insisted he still considered the video – which has been viewed 3.1million times on YouTube – to be ‘comedy’.
‘It was just for the purpose of comedy, she thinks her dog is the cutest thing in the world and I turned it into something horrible which is a Nazi, that was the juxtaposition of the whole video,’ he said.
‘I still regard the video as comedy and don’t believe it contains any threat of violence to anyone at all and it is not anti-semitic or racist.
‘There are a lot of popular comedians who have the same sense of humour as me including Mel Brooks, Jim Jefferies and Frankie Boyle but I was arrested over this video.’
Meechan was arrested after uploading the footage in April last year – but insists it was all to annoy his 29-year-old girlfriend, Suzanne Kelly, 29
An attempt by Meechan’s solicitor advocate Ross Brown to play clips of comedians Joan Rivers, John Cleese and Larry David, as well as Labour MP Harriet Harman making Holocaust jokes in court was refused and branded ‘irrelevant’ by the sheriff.
Suzanne Kelly had earlier told the trial her boyfriend had turned her ‘cute’ dog into a Nazi but insisted he did not mean any harm by it and that the dog was trained to respond to other words to get treats.
Prosecutors allege Meechan 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 claim it was aggravated by religious prejudice.
Meechan told Airdrie Sheriff Court he only intended the video to be seen by a small group of friends on his YouTube account. He is pictured outside the court with his girlfriend, Miss Kelly
At the start of the clip he says: ‘My girlfriend is always ranting and raving about how cute and adorable her wee dog is so I thought I would turn him into the least cute thing I could think of which is a Nazi.’
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 court has also seen a second video where Meechan apologised for any offence the clips caused.
The trial later heard Meechan claim it was just ‘bad luck’ that the video was found and then went viral.
Meechan denies any wrongdoing over the video, pictured, and says he still regards it as ‘comedy’
He said: ‘It was just bad luck that the video was found. I don’t know who uploaded it to Reddit but think they may be American or Canadian and I have no idea how they found the video.
‘If I was standing outside a synagogue shouting and screaming ‘gas the Jews’ at people then it would be offensive but the purpose of the video was for comedy not to cause anybody fear or alarm.
‘I like offensive comedy and it is offensive comedy but I don’t agree with the notion that it is grossly offensive.
‘If I emailed it to a Jew that I didn’t know then that would offensive but I’m friends with people who are Jewish and they recognise that the Nazis were the butt of the joke in the video and actually find it funny.
‘I have not seen any evidence of my video stirring up any hatred towards anybody’
Meechan also told the court he had lost eight jobs as a result of being arrested and prosecuted for the alleged offence, adding he even had to start a crowdfunding page to raise £12,000 to cover his legal costs.
He said much of the funding had been given from people in the Jewish community who supported his video.
The trial before Sheriff Derek O’Carroll continues.
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