Advertisement

We need your help now

Support from readers like you keeps The Journal open.

You are visiting us because we have something you value. Independent, unbiased news that tells the truth. Advertising revenue goes some way to support our mission, but this year it has not been enough.

If you've seen value in our reporting, please contribute what you can, so we can continue to produce accurate and meaningful journalism. For everyone who needs it.

Jon Bishop (spazcer) via Creative Commons
Twitter Joke Trial

Paul Chambers loses appeal against Twitter joke conviction

Man fined £1,000 for ‘menacing’ Twitter message in which he joked about blowing up an airport.

THE MAN WHO WAS CONVICTED of menace for threatening to blow up an airport in a Twitter message has lost his appeal against the conviction.

Paul Chambers, 27, was arrested in January after tweeting: “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!!”

Today, the judge read the message out in court and said she agreed with the original ruling that it contained menace.

She said Chambers must have known it could be taken seriously, the Guardian reports.

Public Twitter message

Chambers, who lost his job after being arrested, had planned to travel to Belfast to meet a friend with whom he communicated via Twitter. He said he was worried that heavy snow would cause the Robin Hood Airport near Doncaster, England, to close before he could travel.

He sent his friend @CrazyColours a private message the night before he was due to travel, joking about hijacking a plane. However, his joke about a bomb threat was sent through the public system, meaning anyone could see it.

He had 600 followers at the time, according to the BBC.

In May, Chambers wrote a piece for the Guardian in which he said his message was silly, but he “didn’t even think about whether it would be taken seriously”:

Call me naive or ignorant, but the heightened state of panic over terror issues was not something I considered as relating to me in any way – until I was arrested, shoved into a police car in front of colleagues, hauled off to Doncaster police station, and interviewed for the rest of the day. My iPhone, laptop and desktop hard drive were confiscated during a search of my house. It was terrifying and humiliating.

He has been ordered to pay a £1,000 fine, which fellow Twitter user Stephen Fry has offered to pay.

The case has caused controversy among Twitter users and hundreds of messages of support have been posted today for Chambers:

Paul Chambers loses appeal against Twitter joke conviction
1 / 11
  • #Twitterjoketrial

  • #Twitterjoketrial

  • #Twitterjoketrial

  • #Twitterjoketrial

  • #Twitterjoketrial

  • #Twitterjoketrial

  • #Twitterjoketrial

  • #Twitterjoketrial

  • #Twitterjoketrial

  • #Twitterjoketrial

  • #Twitterjoketrial

Readers like you are keeping these stories free for everyone...
A mix of advertising and supporting contributions helps keep paywalls away from valuable information like this article. Over 5,000 readers like you have already stepped up and support us with a monthly payment or a once-off donation.