Paul Chambers airport bomb tweet appeal returns to court
A man found guilty of posting a comment on Twitter threatening to blow up Robin Hood Airport has returned to court in a bid to overturn his conviction.
Paul Chambers, 27, from Doncaster, who now lives in Northern Ireland, was convicted in May 2011 for sending a “menacing electronic communication”.
He claimed it was a joke and wants his conviction and sentence quashed.
Comedian Stephen Fry, who is at the High Court hearing, said it was “very important” for freedom of speech.
The message Chambers tweeted, which included swear words, stated:
He said he sent the tweet as a joke after being frustrated by the closure of Robin Hood Airport due to snow in January 2010.
He was found guilty by Doncaster magistrates in May 2010 and was fined £385 and ordered to pay £600 costs.
An appeal was dismissed in November 2010 with a crown court judge stating that the electronic communication was “clearly menacing” and that airport staff were sufficiently concerned to report it.
His lawyers have claimed he was the victim of a legal “steamroller” that threatened to make the law look silly and that the crown court erred in law and in common sense.
John Cooper QC, representing Chambers at the High Court, argued that even if the message was a threat, it could not be defined as menacing or criminal.
He told the High Court hearing:
“We don’t say it’s a good joke but he shouldn’t have been convicted over a bad one.
“At worst, the tweet was offensive.”
Among his supporters at the hearing are Stephen Fry and comedian Al Murray.