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#TwitterJokeTrial: Man wins appeal against conviction after airport bomb tweet

Paul Chambers sent a tweet in January 2010 in which he joked he would blow up Robin Hood Airport in Yorkshire.

A MAN WHO jokingly tweeted that he was going to blow up Robin Hood Airport in South Yorkshire has won an appeal against his conviction.

Paul Chambers was frustrated when snow forced the airport to closed in January 2010 and tweeted to his 600 followers (he now has over 8,000):

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!!!

He had been planning to travel to Belfast to see his girlfriend the following week.

Chambers was found guilty in May 2010 of sending a “menacing electronic message” and was fined £385 and ordered to pay £600 costs. His initial appeal was dismissed on the grounds that the airport staff had found the message threatening enough to report it.

However lawyers for Chambers argued that the tweet was offensive at worst, but certainly was not made with criminal intent. Later appeals went to the High Court, which unusually failed to reach a decision in February and ordered a new hearing.

In May of this year Chambers was granted a new appeal hearing and today won that appeal and was acquitted.

Several high profile names backed Chambers’ campaign, including comedian Al Murray, comedian and writer Stephen Fry and Father Ted creator Graham Linehan.

Al Murray was in court today and tweeted a picture of a relieved Chambers with his fiancé:

Murray also tweeted that the judgement found that Twitter does not fall under the Communications Act, and that it was “difficult to see how [the tweet] can be described as a message of menacing character”.

Fry meanwhile took a break from his Twitter holiday’ to welcome the judgement:

Earlier today Chambers tweeted his thanks in advance to his supporters:

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About the author:

Emer McLysaght

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