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Twitter airport bomb spoof joker launches appeal

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The Twitter user who jokingly threatened to blow Doncaster airport "sky high" back in January is to appeal against his widely criticised conviction for sending a threatening message.

Paul Chambers, 26, got into trouble for posting the ill-conceived micro-blogging update on 6 January, after a run of heavy snow weather forced the Yorkshire airport to shut up shop a week before he was due to fly over to Belfast to meet a girl he met online (@crazycolours), who he has since begun dating.

Crap! Robin Hood Airport is closed. You've got a week and a bit to get your shit together otherwise I'm blowing the airport sky high!

The frustrated but rather self-evidently non-serious message was spotted by an off-duty manager at Doncaster's Robin Hood Airport, who complained to the police. He later admitted at Chambers' trial that the update was not considered as a credible threat and had no effect on the airport's operations.

Chambers, of the Balby area of Doncaster, lost his job as a finance supervisor as a result of the prosecution. He received fines of £1,000 and a criminal record after he was convicted of sending a threatening message by Doncaster Magistrates' Court last month. The court rejected Chambers' testimony that the the message was "innocuous hyperbole" in finding him guilty of an offence against the Communications Act 2003.

Internet users upset with the verdict rallied to his cause, helping to finance an appeal. Chambers will be represented by defence barrister Stephen Ferguson at an appeal likely to take place in either July or August. The appeal will challenge whether the update to the @pauljchambers Twitter account could reasonably be interpreted as menacing.

More updates on the appeal can be found in the Jack of Kent blog, maintained by lawyer Allen Green, who is co-ordinating the appeal. "I think we can be optimistic for Paul's chances on appeal, but that sadly is not a certainty," Green writes.

"There is still a lot of work to be done so that this injustice can be remedied. If the Crown Court appeal is unsuccessful, then there can then be an appeal to the High Court, and so on until he is finally acquitted, or until he exhausts the entire appeal process."

Prominent supporters of Chambers include Graham Linehan, writer of the IT Crowd and Father Ted, who wrote a critique of the so called twitterjoketrial against the former trainee accountant here. Other supporters include writer Neil Gaiman and many Twitter users. ®

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