Paul Chambers, the 27-year-old accountant from Doncaster convicted under the Communications Act for tweeting a joke about bombing Robin Hood Airport after it closed during heavy snow, has decided to appeal to the high court.
Chambers has already lost one appeal to the crown court against the conviction and incurred around £3,000 in fines and legal costs. The expense of a further appeal initially seemed to put him off pursuing a further challenge.
Tens of thousands of people have rallied to his cause on Twitter, however, using the hashtags #IAmSpartacus and #TwitterJokeTrial -- including celebs such as Davina McCall, David Mitchell, Dave Gorman, Graham Linehan and Marcus Brigstocke. And Stephen Fry even offered to pay his fine ("Whatever they fine you, I'll pay", he tweeted).
According to the Guardian, Chambers's legal team will be led by Ben Emmerson QC, a specialist in human rights and European law from Matrix chambers, and also include barristers Stephen Ferguson and Sarah Przybylska who were both involved in the first appeal.
For those unfamiliar with the case, the offending tweet read as follows: "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!!"
Chambers sent it to all 650 of his followers in January 2010, partly in jest and partly in frustration at the possible cancellation of a flight to Belfast which threatened a trip to visit his girlfriend.
Paul Chambers was arrested shortly afterwards for sending an electronic communication deemed 'grossly offensive or of an indecent, obscene or menacing character' contrary to the Communications Act 2003. The police also impounded his iPhone and two computers, detained him for seven hours in a cell, and then subjected him to lengthy questioning. He also lost his job as a financial manager in the motor trade over the incident.
- Twitter joke trial: Paul Chambers to take appeal to high court (Guardian)
- #IAmSpartacus and #TwitterJokeTrial explode to top of Twitter charts (The Solicitor)
- Conviction for joke tweet about blowing up Robin Hood Airport upheld (The Solicitor)
- Twitter joke conviction: bomb tweet compared to Betjeman's poem 'Slough' (The Solicitor)
- Explosive tweet verdict described as 'absurd' (The Solicitor)
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