Over the past few months, Mark Meechan (known synonymously as Count Dankula) has battled Scottish Courts over a joke. The joke in question? Making a dog respond with a Sieg Heil to the phrase “Gas the Jews”. Comedy is subjective, some found it funny, some didn’t. But that’s not the issue, the issue is that Meechan was prosecuted for said joke. A prosecution that at first would have led to a jail sentence, but ended up being a monetary fine.
It’s now been revealed that Meechan’s appeal against a fine of £800 has been denied on both stages of appeal. In a video uploaded to his YouTube channel entitled “My Appeal has been Rejected”, Meechan states he and his lawyers were working on alternate means of repeal. In essence, the court has ruled that Meechan’s appeal has no chance of being heard or being looked into. The video itself details the response from the courts. Meechan states he will release both responses he received from the court at a later date.
The response from the court insinuates that Meechan’s lawyer should be charged with contempt for doing his job. That evidence alone could suggest a bias within the court ruling, and its unsurprising if that’s the case. The U.K. has always struggled with a clear definition of free speech and this court case is the perfect example of that. Meechan has the right to make jokes, and the context of that joke must be applied to form a concrete judgement. Context was not applied in the initial court ruling, nor has it been applied by anyone attempting to argue against Meechan. It seems political correctness is beginning to have a large say in legal proceedings.
Meechan has hopes with his appeal to the Scottish Criminal Case Review System. In his video he states he and his lawyers will make an appeal to the committee saying that Meechan’s case is a miscarriage of justice. If successful, the committee would ask the appeal court to accept Meechan’s appeal case. In essence, Meechan has to go through a third party body to get an appeal anywhere near a court falsely labelling him as an alt-right racist. It’s clear that the court is taking no interest in Meechan’s case, evidence for this being the outright denial of a hearing, where Meechan could at least explain his appeal.
With Meechan’s appeal rejection, it begs the question as to how silenced the United Kingdom’s public are becoming. From London Mayor Sadiq Khan enforcing Twitter Police to the more global story of InfoWars’ ban from Facebook, YouTube and Twitter. Free speech is a right that every individual holds, regardless of how upset or insulting the comment may be. Meechan’s joke has spiralled from something that upset a handful of people to something that has left him with a criminal record.
Comedians are coming under extremely heavy fire as of late. Celebrities more so, with the likes of James Gunn and Dan Harmon coming under fire for almost decade old jokes. The impact of these jokes is minimal, yet the punishment is severe. The same can be said in the case of Meechan. Falsely labelled as a Nazi and alt-right member by many mainstream media’s and even the court itself, Meechan is now using his modest influence in the community to take a stand against the miscarriage of justice.
Free Speech in the U.K.
Meechan is taking a stand against a corrupt system. A refusal to pay his £800 fine solely for what he believes in will lead to an elongated process. It may lead to the initial sentencing of a prison sentence being pushed on Meechan, only time will tell. What we do know however is that the court is acting on poor information, and a hearing at the very least is in the best interests. Comedy does not intentionally offend, it is meant to disgust and entertain.
It is a mockery of horrific events, to make jokes in the face of horrific acts is a coping mechanism and one that many people seek comfort in. Meechan’s style of comedy has been around for decades, and it’s no coincidence that it’s only now that it has become a problem. PC culture has pushed Meechan into court, and it won’t stop there. This is just the horrific beginning.
You can’t say something isn’t a joke because you don’t find it funny. If people are offended, that is their problem and their problem alone. A court should not rule what is and is not funny. It’s genuinely quite scary to think now that you could be arrested for a joke or something you’ve said almost ten years ago. Freedom of speech at this point is a myth, the Scottish courts have just about proven that.