Attention: Please take a moment to consider our terms and conditions before posting.

Friday debate - the Twitter joke trial

edited November 2010 in Not Sports Related
Paul Chambers, the man who posted a message on Twitter threatening to blow up an airport, has lost the appeal against his conviction and is now facing a £3,000 bill in fines and legal fees.

Back in January, Chambers tweeted
'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!
Not the most hilarious gag in the world, but his disgruntled, sarcastic remark led to his arrest.

In May 2010, he was found guilty of sending a menacing electronic communication (Section 127 of the Communications Act 2003), and was fined £385.

Yesterday, he went to Doncaster Crown Court to appeal that hearing, but Judge Jacqueline Davies refused to quash his conviction and raised his legal fees to £2,600.

Chambers’ counsel told the appeal that even the police officer investigating the case branded the message as
a foolish comment posted on Twitter as a joke for only his close friends to see
and argued that the message was under no risk of being interpreted as a real threat.

But Judge Davies disagreed, stating that an ordinary person would be alarmed at the message, and reasoned that in the country’s current climate of terrorist threats, Chambers should have been aware of the possible consequences.

This is *not* meant as an opportunity to discuss the dangers of terrorism; but what do Lifers think about this apparant restriction of the rights to free speech?

Comments

  • I don't think its so much a freedom of speech issue as a commonsense one. the guy should have had his knuckles wrapped at most, as for the criminal waste of court time
  • Absolute joke.

    The judge obviously doesnt understand Twitter. If the guy had tweeted to the Airport then maybe he should get a grilling, but it was just a tweet to his followers!
  • [cite]Posted By: Kap10[/cite]I don't think its so much a freedom of speech issue as a commonsense one. the guy should have had his knuckles wrapped at most, as for the criminal waste of court time

    Would have done if he's accepted a caution but you have to admit the offence to accept a caution and he chose not to as is his right.

    Silly thing to say, sillier thing to be taken that far.
  • Everyone knows these days you don't joke about such things.

    How many of us have wanted to reply with sarcastic answers when asked those pointless questions at check-in?But we don't as we know where it will end.

    People think that twitter comments are throw-away comments like verbal ones, but they have a much wider reach and can have serious consiquences.

    Agree with Henry, how did he think was going to walk away from it? should have accepted the slap on the wrists when he had the chance.

    Don't try and play the authories at this sort of game, they will always have the last laugh.
  • what DRF said, stupid thing to say really but a bit of a waste of money taking it so far !
  • [cite]Posted By: aliwibble[/cite]And now it's getting silly.
    Ha - that is good.
  • Think its a case of making an example of the bloke
  • [cite]Posted By: aliwibble[/cite]And now it's getting silly.

    Ha ha ha.
    "Botheration! My public transport options are curtailed. If this is not remedied soon I shall do something patently ridiculous"
  • [cite]Posted By: DRF[/cite]Everyone knows these days you don't joke about such things.

    How many of us have wanted to reply with sarcastic answers when asked those pointless questions at check-in?But we don't as we know where it will end.

    People think that twitter comments are throw-away comments like verbal ones, but they have a much wider reach and can have serious consiquences.

    Agree with Henry, how did he think was going to walk away from it? should have accepted the slap on the wrists when he had the chance.

    Don't try and play the authories at this sort of game, they will always have the last laugh.

    This is spot on. He's probably been badly advised to take his case to court by others which was a stupid thing to do (but his right). Yeah we all know that international terrorist are not likely to caught out by the searching question asked by 20 year old behind the check-in counter but you have to have a zero tolerance to anything of this nature.

    The alternative is that whenever anyone says something stupid like this you have to make a judgement call and the consequences of getting that wrong don't bear thinking about.
  • Sponsored links:


  • I don't twitter but have recently posted on facebook threats to kill all my neighbours and to firebomb the block of flats - am I likely to get arrested soon or will I be okay as I didn't mention an airport?

    Totally ridiculous really, waste of time and surely the police and courts have got more important crimes to be dealing with.
  • The bloke's an idiot for Tweeting it in the first place especially in the current climate. He should've taken the fine, learned a lesson and moved on. You have to take airport security seriously these days and it's no different to some joker saying they've got a bomb in the hand luggage
  • I don't know the full story but can i assume that someone with nothing better to do in their life, actually rang up the police to report him after his initial tweet?
    Or do anti terrorism units pick up the words 'blowing the airport sky high' and alert the police?
  • Someone who works for the airport searched for "Robin Hood Airport" I think, and then reported it to the police. They'll be having a coronary today.
  • He made a joke. Not a very good one, but a joke. Clearly this was not a real threat.
    [cite]Posted By: Valley McMoist[/cite]The bloke's an idiot for Tweeting it in the first place
    You may be right: I wouldn't argue with that. But is he also a criminal? Is it right and proper that he was arrested? Convicted? Given a criminal record? Lost his job?
    [cite]Posted By: Wilma[/cite]I ... recently posted on facebook threats to kill all my neighbours and to firebomb the block of flats - am I likely to get arrested soon?
    Looks like you may have fallen foul of exactly the same law.
    [cite]Posted By: DRF[/cite]Agree with Henry, how did he think was going to walk away from it? should have accepted the slap on the wrists when he had the chance.
    Maybe. But would you accept a conviction - and fine, criminal record, and loss of job - if you honestly thought you had not broken the law and had not intended to do so?

    You would have to be abnormally stupid to think that this tweet - sent to someone, not just randomly posted for "everyone" - represented a notification of an actual, real, live terrorist incident. After all, do terrorists normally give a week and a half's warning of their intentions and specifiy the exact location of their intended actions?
  • I will never again try to make a joke on Charlton Life.


    It's just not worth it.
  • [cite]Posted By: Oggy Red[/cite]I will never again try to make a joke on Charlton Life.


    It's just not worth it.

    Have you tried before then? Have to say I've never noticed.


    : - )
  • Next week half of the covered end are to be hanged for high treason after they were found hatching a plot to "build a bonfire" and put "The Palace on the top" of it.
    Somethimes the authorities ability to overreact to a joke is beyond belief.
  • [cite]Posted By: sygonrima[/cite]Next week half of the covered end are to be hanged for high treason after they were found hatching a plot to "build a bonfire" and put "The Palace on the top" of it.
    Somethimes the authorities ability to overreact to a joke is beyond belief.

    Excellent. And your last sentence is especially pertinent, when you live in a country where people admire our justice system. I've got some explaining to do in the pub tonight.

    There's a petition against the ruling here
  • Sponsored links:


  • [cite]Posted By: DRF[/cite]Agree with Henry, how did he think was going to walk away from it? should have accepted the slap on the wrists when he had the chance.

    I don't think you are fully acquainted with what actually happened. You can read Paul Chambers' own account here. In particular, he writes:

    "I would have fully accepted the police coming to my house to question me; it would have taken all of five minutes to realise what had happened. I would have learned my lesson and no taxpayer money would have been wasted on a frivolous prosecution."
  • edited November 2010
    #Iamspartacus something like 50 tweets per second at the moment ... best yet is 'If Robin Hood airport blows up today it's going to be a loooong police enquiry'
Sign In or Register to comment.

Roland Out!