A court in Scotland has found Mark Meechan, aka Count Dankula, guilty of a ‘hate crime’ for teaching his girlfriend’s pug to respond to remarks such as “Gas the Jews” by raising a paw in an imitation of a Nazi salute. I shouldn’t have to say, but will anyway for the hard of thinking, that this was childish, tasteless and offensive of him, however funny he thought it might be at the time. Far more offensive than his extremely poor joke however is involvement of the criminal justice system and Meechan’s probable gaol sentence when he next appears in front of the Sheriff on April 23rd.
To the lay observer such as your humble author this case bears more than a passing resemblance to the miscarriage of justice which was inflicted upon Paul Chambers for his ill-advised tweet back in 2010 (Ed: yes really). Quashing Chambers’ conviction took over two years; hopefully Meechan’s ordeal will not last quite as long.
In a free and fair society, which Scotland – and the wider UK – demonstrably don’t appear to be, Meechan would be free to be as tasteless and offensive as he likes without the legal system becoming involved so long as he is not inciting violence against a person or group thereof. Any backlash against this ‘joke’ would then be left to his peers and society at large to enact, not the state.