Judgement has been reserved in the appeal case of Paul Chambers, the accountant that was convicted and lost two jobs because of an ill-judged but obvious joke made on Twitter.
Paul Chambers was arrested in January 2010 after he vented his frustration at his cancelled flight on Twitter. “Robin Hood airport is closed,” he tweeted. “You’ve got a week and a bit to get your s**t together, otherwise I’m blowing the airport sky high!!”
That statement was considered a credible security threat and Chambers was arrested and convicted in May 2010 at Doncaster Magistrates’ Court of sending “a message of a menacing character”, contrary to provisions of the 2003 Communications Act, fined £385 and ordered to pay £600 costs. His employees also sacked him.
Chambers now lives in Northern Ireland with the woman he was going to see in 2010. However when he revealed to his new employees about his appeal case he was promptly sacked again.
When Chambers was first convicted it sparked the “I am Spartacus” campaign where thousands of Twitter users copied his original tweet to highlight the absurdity of a law that has been applied to the letter. Unfortunately it also makes the law look like an ass and has wasted huge amounts of taxpayer’s money. Surely these resources could have been better spent on monitoring and arresting real terrorists?