Twitter Jokes About Blowing Up Airports: Now OK in the U.K.
If you’re traveling around the U.K. and something pisses you off so much that you jokingly tweeting that you’re going to blow an airport “sky high” – have no fear. That’s because there is now precedent for the legality of your statements.
A 28-year-old Northern Ireland man has won an appeal and had a prior conviction overturned by the High Court in London. His earlier conviction, which occurred in 2010, stemmed from a tweet he made at the Robin Hood Airport near Doncaster.
Admittedly frustrated by the fact that the airport’s service were closed for snow, Paul Chambers sent out a tweet saying:
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!!
Of course, Chambers declared that the tweet was just a joke said in a moment of severe frustration. But in May 2010, he was convicted of sending a “menacing electronic communication.” His first appeal went nowhere. But this time, the judge agreed that the tweet was clearly a joke, and not menacing at all.
And let’s be honest here – this kind of tweet would be highly unusual for someone planning true terroristic activity.
Just realise I’ve now lost my bad boy image. Such as it was. Damn.
Through the ordeal, Chambers has some friends in high places – including actor and comedian Stephen Fry. He tweeted his support for Chambers throughout his appeal process, using the hashtag #twitterjoketrial.
“I am relieved, vindicated – it is ridiculous it ever got this far,” Chambers told the BBC.[Via BBC]