Twitter joke man wins UK appeal

Fri, Jul 27, 2012, 01:00


A man found guilty of sending a menacing tweet has won his challenge against conviction.

Paul Chambers (28) was fined £385 and ordered to pay £600 costs at Doncaster Magistrates’ Court in May 2010 after being convicted of sending “a message of a menacing character”, contrary to provisions of the 2003 Communications Act.

He said he sent the tweet to his 600 followers in a moment of frustration after Robin Hood Airport in South Yorkshire was closed by snow in January 2010, and never thought anyone would take his “silly joke” seriously.

It read: “Crap! Robin Hood Airport is closed. You’ve got a week and a bit to get your s*** together, otherwise I’m blowing the airport sky high!”

But, in November 2010, Crown Court judge Jacqueline Davies, sitting with two magistrates, dismissed his appeal, saying that the electronic communication was “clearly menacing” and that airport staff were sufficiently concerned to report it.

Today, the Lord Chief Justice Lord Judge, sitting with Mr Justice Owen and Mr Justice Griffith Williams, said: “We have concluded that, on an objective assessment, the decision of the Crown Court that this ‘tweet’ constituted or included a message of a menacing character was not open to it.

“On this basis, the appeal against conviction must be allowed.”