Celebs back appeal of man convicted over Twitter joke to blow up airport

Ruth Doherty


Celebs back appeal of man convicted in Twitter joke to blow up airport
Celebs back appeal of man convicted in Twitter joke to blow up airport

Al Murray is supporting Paul Chambers' case. PA


Two judges have taken time out to decide whether to quash the conviction of a man for a Twitter message threatening to blow up Robin Hood Airport in Yorkshire.

Paul Chambers, 27, from Doncaster, was convicted in May for sending a 'menacing electronic communication", after becoming frustrated at the airport's closure due to snow.

According to the Guardian, the trainee accountant was preparing to fly to see his new girlfriend in Northern Ireland when bad weather closed Robin Hood airport, and he tweeted to his 690 followers: "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!!"

Just a week later, he was arrested by five police officers, and was subsequently charged and convicted of causing a menace under the Communications Act 2003.

Chambers said the tweet was a joke and never expected anyone to take it seriously.

According to the BBC, on Wednesday he asked two High Court judges to overturn the Doncaster Crown Court decision in November 2010 to uphold his conviction and sentence, a decision which pushed the costs order against him up to £2,600.

His plight has been backed by high-profile public figures - and fellow Twitter users - like Stephen Fry and Al Murray, who actually attended the court hearing, along with Father Ted star Graham Linehan.

Al Murray, who even hosted a fundraising show to cover Chambers' legal expenses, said: "I defend everyone's right to tell rotten jokes. It is how I earn my living. The law is being pointed absurdly at the wrong thing here. In the end it means we can't say what we want on Twitter and these things are incredibly important."

Linehan added: "The problem was this was a bad joke. If we were all to be convicted because of bad jokes we'd be in terrible trouble."


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