Following Paul Chambers' conviction for posting a "menacing message" on Twitter, his QC will argue at today's appeal that it was not a criminal offence
UPDATE: Judgment reserved in Twitter joke appeal.
Tweeting as JackofKent, Chambers' solicitor David Allen Green says: "General consensus on #twitterjoketrial appeal - High Court did not go out of way to be sympathetic to our case. But one can never tell".
Paul Chambers' appeal against his criminal conviction for posting a jokey message on Twitter in 2010 will begin in the High Court today.
According to his solicitor David Allen Green writing in The New Statesman, his counsel will be arguing that "the threshold for criminal liability under section 127 [of the Communications Act 2003] should be far higher than a case such as Paul's jokey and exasperated tweet."
Chambers gained notoriety in January 2010 after he vented his frustration on Twitter about snow causing continuing delays at Robin Hood airport in Doncaster.
He posted the message: ''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 admitted that in hindsight the message was "silly". The Crown Prosecution Service also agreed that the message was not a real or hoax bomb threat, yet it still decided to prosecute him under the Communications Act 2003 for sending a "menacing message".
In May that year 26-year-old Chambers was found guilty of this offence at Doncaster Crown Court. He received fines totalling more than £3,000 plus now has a criminal record.
Speaking after the original ruling, Green said that the decision raised "very serious concerns for those who use social media and work in the communications industry."
The decision also sparked massive outrage on Twitter generating the I Am Spartacus campaign, during which thousands of people retweeted Chambers' original message.
Chambers, who is represented by Ben Emmerson QC, will be hoping his appeal will result in the conviction being overturned.
Writing in The Lawyer, Green explained that: "The appeal is by way of "case stated". This means that there is no appeal of fact, and indeed the facts are agreed.
"Nor is this an appeal against sentence. The fine of £400 plus costs (now around £3,400) - and the criminal record - will still stand unless the conviction is overturned. The appeal is entirely on points of law."
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