Meechan’s trial was delayed for the umpteenth time on Friday, to March 20. The 30-year-old YouTube entertainer was charged with committing a hate crime after he recorded his girlfriend’s pug, Buddha, responding to statements like “gas the garden gnomes” and “sieg heil” by raising its paw in a viral video.
Meechan, has made it repeatedly clear that he does not have Nazi sympathies, and denies being a racist. He told a reporter that the phrases he used in the joke video were simply the “most horrible phrases [he] could think of.”
Meechan made the same argument in court.
Prosecutors disagree with Meechan, and say that the video was “an odious criminal act that was dressed up to look like a joke.”
“The Crown contention is that the inclusion of the dog is an attempt to muddy the waters around him making, producing and posting the video,” they said.
Following its publication to YouTube in April 2016, some members of the public lodged complaints to the police who then arrested him for allegedly committing a “hate crime.”
Speaking to the court, Meechan says that he made the video to annoy his girlfriend Suzanne Kelly, 29, who was present in court to support him.
Prosecutors argue that the comedy video is “anti-Semitic in nature,” and could cause fear and alarm to the public and stoke religious hatred. Prosecutors are also charging Meechan with posting a video on social media and YouTube, which they claim was offensive because it is “anti-Semitic and racist in nature.” The prosecution claims that the video was aggravated by religious bigotry.
Addressing the court, prosecutors asked Sheriff Derek O’Carroll to convict Meechan for the video.
“This is not some two and a half hour production with many shards every half hour, this is a toxic distillation of what he may call the best bits of his video,” said the sheriff. “He has made very, very, sure the phrase ‘gas the garden gnomes’ is repeated over and over and over again. He has constructed the video and he accepts that within a short time frame the noxious phrase is uttered 23 times by him.”
The sheriff said the phrase “contains a clear threat of incitement to carry out a seriously violent act.”
According to independent journalist Lauren Southern, who was present in court, Crown prosecutors argued that Meechan “is colluding with his pug to use adorableness to trick people into gassing football stadiums full of people.”
“No, I’m not joking,” Southern tweeted.
Disclosure: The author participated in a crowdfunding livestream to help raise funds for Meechan’s legal fees.