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Scots 'Nazi dog' film maker Mark Meechan's appeal refused

Scots ‘Nazi dog’ film maker Mark Meechan’s appeal refused


A MAN who was fined after filming a pet dog giving Nazi salutes has failed in an attempt to appeal his conviction.

Mark Meechan, 30, was ordered to pay £800 after recording his girlfriend’s pug, Buddha, responding to statements such as “gas the Jews” and “Sieg Heil” by raising its paw.

He was found guilty of breaching the Communications Act by posting material that was “grossly offensive” and “anti-Semitic and racist in nature”, in an offence aggravated by religious prejudice, following a trial at Airdrie Sheriff Court in April.

Meechan, of Coatbridge, Lanarkshire, raised more than £193,000 through a crowdfunding page to pay for legal fees to fund an appeal against his conviction and sentence but has now revealed that it has failed at the first hurdle.

His lawyers took the case to the Sheriff Appeal Court in Edinburgh but a panel of sheriffs refused to grant leave to appeal.

The case did not make it to a full hearing as it was refused at the ‘sift’ stage where sheriffs review bids to appeal and determine whether they have any merit.

YouTube prankster Meechan, who claimed the video was a joke and that he was exercising his right to freedom of speech, has said his legal team will now refer the case to the Scottish Criminal Cases Review Commission, who review potential miscarriages of justice.

Earlier this week, he vowed to go to prison rather than pay his fine if the appeal process was unsuccessful.

In a video posted online about the appeal decision, he said: “My appeal has been completely rejected.

“Scottish appeal courts work on a sift process where you get two chances to submit your appeal and it can be rejected at that stage on the grounds that there is absolutely no hope in hell of your appeal being successful.

“Mine was rejected on both stages. Apparently what happened to me is completely inarguable.

“I believe I have suffered a miscarriage of justice and my lawyers are going to submit that to the Scottish Criminal Cases Review Commission.

“Hopefully the commission will agree and ask the appeal court to accept my appeal case.

“I never even got a hearing, I just got two rejection letters.”

He added: “I’m obviously not happy about the fact that I’m going to jail but I’m more than prepared to do it for what I believe in.

“I absolutely refuse to sacrifice my principles just so I can get an easy time under a law I shouldn’t even be getting charged under in the first place.”

The Sheriff Appeal Court confirmed Meechan’s bid to appeal had been refused last month.

The original clip was viewed more than three million times on YouTube and sparked a debate over free speech, with comedians Ricky Gervais and David Baddiel defending Meechan.

During an interview on BBC Radio Scotland on Tuesday, Meechan claimed people should be allowed to say whatever they want, no matter how offensive, and it should not be a criminal offence.

He claimed Sheriff Derek O’Carroll, who presided over his trial, was from an older generation and didn’t understand his sense of humour.

He said: “The judge was a lot older, he’s from a different generation. There are jokes you would tell your friends but you would never repeat them to your grandmother.

“He was judging it from the era of comedy that he grew up with.

“One of my main gripes with the case is I was being judged by a man who doesn’t understand my world. I think that’s what has given me the biggest bee in my bonnet with regards to the judge’s decision.”

Meechan also said that since his conviction he has been unable to find work and has been subjected to violent threats on the street.

He has said any money left over for his legal challenge will be donated to charity.

The Herald

Michael Herbert was banned for five years after an investigation into an anti-Semitic video, filmed in Russia.

Police have been investigating an anti-Semitic video which circulated online

Police have been investigating an anti-Semitic video which circulated online

Two men have been banned from attending football matches following offences at the Russia World Cup.

Michael Herbert, 57, from Derby, was given a five-year football banning order when he appeared at Leicester Magistrates Court.

It follows an investigation by police into an anti-Semitic video which circulated online.

Another two men, aged 52 and 58, were served with notices under the Football Spectators Act.

Although they appeared in Leicester Magistrates Court, their case was adjourned until 26 June.

Following a separate incident on a train near Moscow on 17 June, Paul Johnson, 25, was given a three-year football banning order.

Police were hunting those who appeared in a video performing a Nazi salute.

The FA condemned the behaviour, adding: “We are working with the relevant authorities, including the UK police investigations team, who are making inquiries to identify the individuals involved and take appropriate action.

“The disgraceful conduct of the individuals in this video does not represent the values of the majority of English football fans supporting the team in Russia.”
Sky News

Police said he “crossed the line between free speech and the abuse of an entire group of people based on their ethnicity”

A 48-year-old man has been sentenced to a year in jail after making a speech aimed at stirring up racial hatred at a rally in Westminster.

Jonathan Bedford-Turner, of Rudgard Lane, Lincoln, was charged with inciting racial hatred on October 3 last year.

He was first arrested after making a speech in Whitehall with the “intention to stir up racial hatred” on July 4, 2015.

After pleading not guilty at Westminster Magistrates’ Court on October 30 last year, he was found guilty on Monday (May 14) by a unanimous verdict at Southwark Crown Court.

He was jailed for 12 months but will serve half of the term in prison. He has been warned he will be at risk of licence recall if he re-offends.

Detective Sergeant Matt Hearing, investigating officer from Metropolitan Police’s Public Order and Resources Unit, said Bedford-Turner’s “intention was to stir up racial hatred”.

He added: “Bedford-Turner gave a speech in Whitehall that crossed the line between free speech and wholesale abuse of an entire group of people based on their ethnicity.”
Get West London

Jeremy Bedford-Turner called for England to be freed from ‘Jewish control’ at London rally

Jeremy Bedford-Turner. The prosecutor said that he was ‘obsessed’ with and ‘despised’ Jewish people. Photograph: Sam Blewett/PA

Jeremy Bedford-Turner. The prosecutor said that he was ‘obsessed’ with and ‘despised’ Jewish people. Photograph: Sam Blewett/PA

A far-right army veteran has been found guilty of stirring up racial hatred after the Crown Prosecution Service was pressured to reconsider its decision to not bring charges against him.

Jeremy Bedford-Turner, 48, called for his “soldiers” to liberate England from “Jewish control” in an address outside Downing Street and blamed Jews for issues ranging from both world wars to Jack the Ripper.

The CPS declined to prosecute after an initial complaint but reconsidered the decision after a group brought a legal challenge at the high court.

Bedford-Turner now faces up to seven years’ imprisonment after a jury at Southwark crown court on Monday found him guilty of one count of stirring up racial hatred after two hours of deliberation.

“Nice knowing you, chaps,” he told his supporters before entering the dock.

The 15-minute speech was made at a rally against Jewish neighbourhood watch group Shomrim in Whitehall on 4 July 2015.

Bedford-Turner, who served for 12 years in the army, and speaks Pashtu and Arabic, told the crowd: “Let’s free England from Jewish control. Let’s liberate this land. Listen, soldiers, listen to me. It’s time to liberate our country.”

Dozens of his supporters attended his two-day trial. Under cross-examination, he admitted that he wanted all Jews to leave the UK.

Louis Mably QC, prosecuting, said the defendant was obsessed with Jewish people and that he despised them.

The Campaign Against Antisemitism (CAA) previously said it took the “unusual step” of bringing a judicial review after prosecutors declined to charge Bedford-Turner after an initial complaint.

“CAA was partly motivated by a growing concern that the CPS is failing to take antisemitic crime seriously,” a CAA spokesman said.

The CPS then said in March last year that it would get a more senior lawyer to review the case, and decided to press charges.

The case of Bedford-Turner, of no fixed abode, was adjourned until Monday afternoon when the judge will decide whether to sentence him at a later date.

The Guardian

A Twitter troll who bombarded police with vile abuse has been jailed for four years.

David Bitton sent 600 homophobic, anti-Semitic, and other abusive messages to the force and other organisations.

They included threats to Greater Manchester Police dog handlers – telling them: ‘I want a police dogs head on a stick’.

Detectives branded the social media messages ‘horrific, threatening and narrow-minded’ and said that a four-year sentence was ‘entirely justified’.

Bitton, 40, of Grosvenor Road in Altrincham , was locked up at Manchester’s Minshull Street Crown Court on Friday after pleading guilty to 13 separate charges of sending racist and threatening communications.

David Bitton

David Bitton

An investigation was launched and Bitton was identified as the suspect. He was arrested and when interviewed said he had only written the tweets in order to gain followers, and deleted them soon after.

In one tweet he said: “I want a police dogs head on a stick.”

He also posted: “There is no 1 I carnt find.”

He then sent another tweet saying: “Including every police officer in Manchester. i already have all dog handlers addresses.”

Det Con David Stevenson from Greater Manchester Police’s Trafford Borough said: “Bitton tried to say that he didn’t mean what he had written and he was only craving attention and followers, but the contents of what was in some of his tweets was of such a horrific, threatening and narrow-minded nature that today’s sentence is entirely justified.

“Bitton will spend the next four years thinking about his actions and how they have affected the people they were aimed at.”

Manchester Evening News

troll

An internet troll who made anti-Semitic death threats to a Labour MP and threatened to blow up a mosque has been jailed for 27 months.

John Nimmo, from South Shields, sent two emails to Luciana Berger, in which he said she would “get it like Jo Cox” and “watch your back Jewish scum”.

Emails to an anti-hate crime group also including threats to blow up a mosque.

Newcastle Crown Court heard the 28-year-old had earlier admitted three charges relating to online threats.

One of Nimmo’s messages to Liverpool Labour MP Ms Berger included a picture of a large knife and came just three weeks after MP Jo Cox was killed, the court heard.

Nimmo was jailed in 2014 for eight weeks for sending abusive messages on Twitter to feminist campaigner Caroline Criado-Perez and MP Stella Creasy.

Ms Criado-Perez had led a campaign using social media for a female figure to appear on a Bank of England note.

BBC News

A right wing extremist who threatened to blow up the Express & Star has today been jailed for eight months.

Darren Fletcher outside Wolverhampton Crown Court in November 2013

Darren Fletcher outside Wolverhampton Crown Court in November 2013

The warning was among a string of postings made on Facebook by Darren Fletcher that broke the terms of Criminal Anti Social Behaviour Order imposed on him along with a 12-month prison term in January last year for trying to stir-up racial hatred, a judge heard.

In those days he was called Christopher Phillips but tried to hide his identity by later changing his name by deed poll and using the handle of Whitest Knight to put extremist comments on the internet after his release from jail, Wolverhampton Crown Court was told.

On November 4 he posted a comment on a Facebook page supporting another man jailed for airing anti-Semitic views.

Fletcher’s message, outlined to the court, read: “Express & Star. The worst. The **** they wrote about me is unforgivable. Their head office needs bombing.”

In other postings on the same site he poured out his hatred for the police and the current state of Britain, the court heard.

He said he hoped the country came ‘crashing to its knees’ and expressed a wish that the terrorist organisation ISIS ‘bombed the **** out of the police’.

The 25-year-old was arrested by counter terrorism officers in a swoop on his home in Kitchen Lane, Wednesfield, on November 13, said Mr Robert Price, prosecuting.

Analysis of the defendant’s mobile phone and laptop computer confirmed that he had been the person who posted the offensive Facebook comments while posing as Whitest Knight, the court was told.

Mr Nicholas Towers, defending, said the law breaking comments had been made on a Facebook page supported by people with similar right wing views to those of Fletcher.

The lawyer argued: “He was preaching to the choir and expecting nods of agreement from his audience. This was not aimed at causing widespread offence.”

Fletcher, who suffers from autism and whose father committed suicide, was said to have recently attempted to take his own life.

Mr Towers continued: “He has an obsessive personality and is unable to see normal social limits, but with the far right movement he has discovered that the more extreme his views, the greater the approval.”

Fletcher was originally jailed in January last year after posting a YouTube video showing him dressed as a Klu Klux Klansman while dancing holding a golliwog hanging from a noose.

One of the images he posted on Facebook

One of the images he posted on Facebook

A KKK outfit, National Front membership card, White Pride Worldwide flag and a copy of a letter to a German acquaintance of mass murderer Anders Behring Breivik were uncovered by police during an earlier raid on his home linked to the offence that put him in jail.

Mr Towers argued that the defendant needed help to ‘move off his current obsession with racism and to something more productive’.

The lawyer suggested that a prison sentence would simply serve to harden those far right beliefs.

Forklift truck driver Fletcher, whose partner is 18 weeks pregnant, admitted breaking the terms of his Criminal Anti Social Behaviour Order and was put back behind bars by Judge John Warner who told him: “You deliberately, defiantly and flagrantly defied the order and if I do not send you to prison it would act as a green light for you to carry on in the same way.

“You knew exactly what you were doing and realised you were likely to go to prison as a result.

“No doubt, you hope to be regarded as a martyr to your cause, but this punishment has nothing to do with preventing you from holding extremist view.

After sentencing, Detective Chief Supt Sue Southern, head of West Midlands CTU, said: “Fletcher blatantly flouted the conditions the court imposed on him by posting racist and anti-Semitic comments.

“We understand how offensive and distressing this type of behaviour can be and worked to bring him before the courts for a second time.

“West Midlands Police takes all forms of extremism seriously and we urge anyone with any concerns to contact us on 101.”

Express & Star