THE Scots Jewish community rallied to back a sheriff for finding an internet prankster guilty of a hate crime for releasing a viral video in which he trains his dog to Sieg Heil to calls of "gas the Jews".

Sheriff Derek O'Carroll found Mark Meechan guilty at Airdrie Sheriff Court of communicating a video which was "grossly offensive".

The Meechan case became an international freedom of speech talking point after his video titled M8 Yer Dugs A Nazi was posted two years ago.

Video: Comedy stars back Scots 'Nazi dog' film maker found guilty of hate crime

Nicola Livingston, co-president of the Glasgow Jewish Representative Council (GJRC) said: "What is funny about invoking something that talks about killing an entire race.

"There is a difference between doing jokes about the Holocaust and doing something that says 'gas the Jews'. That is not a joke.

The Herald:

"That's like saying kill an entire race, which is what it meant. "He said he was doing this to be as offensive as possible to his girlfriend. There was no intention for it to be a joke. He was trying to be as offensive as he possibly could. "Freedom of speech is not a freedom to say anything.

"There is possibly no subject off limits, but there are possibly things you don't say at certain times to certain people in certain contexts."

Ephraim Borowski, director of the Scottish Council of Jewish Communities (SCoJeC) said he was "even more concerned" at the torrent of abusive messages the group has received since the verdict was announced.

He said the SCoJeC website had also been “bombarded with abusive comments” in the immediate aftermath of the video appeared online.

He said: "We are grateful to the court for recognising that shouting 'gas the Jews" over and over again is not a joke, and that calling something a joke does not reduce its offensiveness."

READ MORE: Free speech row as Scots 'Nazi dog' film maker found guilty of being grossly offensive online

In court, he said: “The other thing that struck me was the explicit statement that this was intended to give offence and intended to be the most offensive thing he could think of and then he says he isn’t a racist. But unfortunately we hear that all the time from people.

“I’m no historian but it is the marching signal of the Nazi stormtroopers who contributed and supported the murder of six million Jews, including members of my own family, and I take this all slightly personally.

The Herald:

“Material of this kind goes to normalise the antisemitic views that frankly we thought we had seen the last of," he said.

The Community Security Trust (CST), the charity that fights for the safety and security of the Jewish community in the UK admitted the case was not clear cut.

Mark Gardner, CST's Director of Communications said: “This is not a straightforward case, but once it was brought, there could only really be one outcome and that is the legal consequence of saying ‘gas the Jews’, which was then repeated many times online.”