Feeds

Twitter joke appeal adjourned

Justice delayed

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

Paul Chambers, the Twitter joke marytr, began his appeal against a widely ridiculed conviction for sending a message "threatening" to blow Doncaster airport "sky high" on Friday.

Chambers, 27, got into all sorts of trouble after posting an ill-conceived Twitter update on 6 January, days before he was due to fly over to Belfast to meet a girl (@crazycolours), who has since become his girlfriend. Heavy snow had forced Robin Hood Airport to shut, prompting an over-the-top rant by Chambers via his @pauljchambers account.

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 message was reported to police by an off-duty manager at Doncaster's Robin Hood Airport. Chambers was questioned by anti-terrorist authorities and charged. At a subsequent hearing before Doncaster Magistrates' Court he was convicted of sending a threatening message even after airport officials testified that his message was never taken as a credible threat and had no effect on the airport's operation.

District judge Jonathan Bennett fined Chambers £1,000 after finding him guilty of an offence against the Communications Act of 2003. Chambers lost his job as a trainee accountant after his initial arrest and a second job a week before his appeal against the conviction, at Doncaster Crown Court on 24 September.

The appeal hinged on arguments that Chambers' original tweet update could not reasonably be considered as menacing.

"This [message] is obviously facetious," defence barrister Stephen Ferguson told Judge Jacqueline Davies at Doncaster Crown Court, The Guardian reports.

The court also heard that a police officer handling Chambers case said bail was allowed because "there is no evidence at this stage this is anything other than a foolish comment posted on Twitter for only his close friends to see".

However Caroline Wiggin, appearing for the prosecution, said Chambers had sent an earlier direct message at a time when it looked like Doncaster Airport might close that said: "I was thinking if it does I have decided to resort to terrorism."

The case was expected to be heard in one day but has been delayed to consider an application from the defence to have the conviction quashed. No date has been set for the resumption of the hearing.

Lawyer Allen Green (@davidallengreen) helped co-ordinate the appeal. Other supporters include Graham Linehan, writer of the IT Crowd.

Green, writing in the New Statesman, compared Chambers' comment to the famous phrase from John Betjeman's poem "Slough": "Come friendly bombs and fall on Slough" arguing that neither should be considered literally. ®

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

More from The Register

next story
Phones 4u slips into administration after EE cuts ties with Brit mobe retailer
More than 5,500 jobs could be axed if rescue mission fails
JINGS! Microsoft Bing called Scots indyref RIGHT!
Redmond sporran metrics get one in the ten ring
Driving with an Apple Watch could land you with a £100 FINE
Bad news for tech-addicted fanbois behind the wheel
Murdoch to Europe: Inflict MORE PAIN on Google, please
'Platform for piracy' must be punished, or it'll kill us in FIVE YEARS
Bono: Apple will sort out monetising music where the labels failed
Remastered so hard it would be difficult or impossible to master it again
Phones 4u website DIES as wounded mobe retailer struggles to stay above water
Founder blames 'ruthless network partners' for implosion
Sony says year's losses will be FOUR TIMES DEEPER than thought
Losses of more than $2 BILLION loom over troubled Japanese corp
Radio hams can encrypt, in emergencies, says Ofcom
Consultation promises new spectrum and hints at relaxed licence conditions
prev story

Whitepapers

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops
Balancing user privacy and privileged access, in accordance with compliance frameworks and legislation. Evaluating any potential remote control choice.
WIN a very cool portable ZX Spectrum
Win a one-off portable Spectrum built by legendary hardware hacker Ben Heck
Intelligent flash storage arrays
Tegile Intelligent Storage Arrays with IntelliFlash helps IT boost storage utilization and effciency while delivering unmatched storage savings and performance.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Beginner's guide to SSL certificates
De-mystify the technology involved and give you the information you need to make the best decision when considering your online security options.