#Open journalism No news is bad news

Your contributions will help us continue to deliver the stories that are important to you

Support The Journal
Dublin: 16°C Friday 17 September 2021
Advertisement

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.

Image: Jon Bishop (spazcer) via Creative Commons

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.

#Open journalism No news is bad news Support The Journal

Your contributions will help us continue to deliver the stories that are important to you

Support us now

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

Read next:

COMMENTS