Twitter bomb joke conviction finally overturned

Posted by Emma Woollacott

The British man found guilty of sending a menacing tweet threatening to blow an airport sky-high has had his conviction quashed by the High Court.

Paul Chambers, 28, sent a jokey tweet in May 2010 when Robin Hood Airport was closed by heavy snow, preventing him from visiting his girlfriend.

" "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!!" it read.

The tweet wasn't even noticed until a week later, when a zealous security guard spotted it. But, in a judgement which caused outrage worldwide, he was found guilty under the Communications Act 2003, losing his job as a financial controller as a result.

Now, though, the UK's most senior judge, the appropriately-named Lord Judge has overturned the conviction.

"If the person or persons who receive or read it, (the message) or may reasonably be expected to receive, or read it, would brush it aside as a silly joke, or a joke in bad taste, or empty bombastic or ridiculous banter, then it would be a contradiction in terms to describe it as a message of a menacing character," he wrote.

"“We have concluded that, on an objective assessment, the decision of the Crown Court that this ‘tweet’ constituted or included a message of a menacing character was not open to it."

The decision's been welcomed by Chambers' thousands of supporters, including comedian Stephen Fry, who described it as a 'complete vindication and victory'.