Paul Chambers lost his job as an Accountant following an avalanche of publicity when he was convicted in May last year of sending “an electronic comunication of a menacing character”, contrary to provisions of the 2003 Communications Act. The contrite comedian who tweeted a joke threat to “blow up” Robin Hood airport in south Yorkshire has lost his attempt to overturn the judgment but an impasse between two judges means that his appeal will now be heard again.
Chambers had been tweeting with his girlfriend, whom he wanted to visit in Northern Ireland. One tweet in the sequence said: “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!!” In the way of twitter, this was shared with around 600 regular followers of his messages and came to the attention of airport security staff.
Protests against the alleged “over-reaction” have multiplied, with high-profile support from celebrity tweeters such as Stephen Fry.
Ben Emmerson QC, appearing for Chambers before Lord Justice Gross and Mr Justice Irwin in February, said that the conviction had proved the opposite of a deterrent.
Around 4,000 people retweeted the message in protest with support gigs including a fundraising event hosted by the comedian Al Murray. The comedian likened the affair to “something out of Monty Python”.