First person guilty of posting ‘menacing’ Twitter message after “bomb hoax” joke

Daily Mail
10..05.2010
By Daily Mail Reporter

Accountant becomes first person guilty of posting ‘menacing’ Twitter message after threat to blow up airport

A frustrated passenger who joked on Twitter about blowing his local airport ’sky high’ yesterday became the first person in the UK to be convicted over comments made on the site.

Paul Chambers, 26, tapped out the comment on his iPhone to amuse friends after his planned trip to Northern Ireland was put in jeopardy by heavy snow at Robin Hood Airport in Doncaster.

‘C**p! Robin Hood Airport is closed,’ he tweeted to his 600 followers. ‘You’ve got a week and a bit to get your **** together, otherwise I’m blowing the airport sky high!!’

He denied the charge but yesterday at Doncaster Magistrates Court he was found guilty.

Chambers, from Doncaster, was ordered to pay £600 costs, a £385 fine and a £15 victim surcharge.

Within minutes of leaving court, he had tweeted his reaction.

‘I’d like to thank the Crown Prosecution Service for their level best efforts in ******* up the life of an ordinary citizen. I love Britain,’ he wrote.

Supporters shared his anger. One tweeted: ‘So angry with twitterjoketrial verdict I am going to blow up the CPS offices (ie enlarge a photo of them, and burn it on my own property)’.

Chambers was convicted even though he claimed the message was simply ‘innocuous hyperbole’ and an airport investigation found the threat to be ‘ noncredible’.

District Judge Jonathan Bennett said it was an ‘unusual case’ but said he was ’satisfied’ the message was of a ‘menacing nature in the context of the time we live in’.

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