Twitter ‘bomb threat’ appeal to be heard today

Paul Chambers was arrested after joking about blowing up Robin Hood Airport on Twitter.
Paul Chambers was arrested after joking about blowing up Robin Hood Airport on Twitter.
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A MAN who joked about blowing up Robin Hood airport on Twitter will appeal to the high court today to overturn his conviction for menacing use of a public communication system.

Paul Chambers, joked on the micro-blogging site in January 2010 that he would blow up the airport if it was not reopened in time for him to make a trip to Northern Ireland to see his girlfriend Sarah Tonner.

Chambers of Byram Road, Balby, will have his legal team argue that the criminal record breach his rights to free expression under the European convention on human rights and is believed to be the UK’s first criminal conviction for the content of a tweet.

A week after he tweeted the ‘joke’ he was arrested by five police officers, questioned for eight hours, had his computers and phones seized and was subsequently charged and convicted of causing a menace under the Communications Act 2003.

Chambers, a trainee accountant, was found guilty by magistrates, handed a £1,000 fine and lost his job. The decision was upheld in September 2010 by a judge and two lay magistrates at Doncaster Crown Court.

Chambers is being represented by Ben Emmerson QC, of Matrix Chambers, who specialises in freedom of expression cases and European human rights law. Robert Smith QC will appear for the director of public prosecutions.