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Verdict 'vindicates' Twitter joker
Paul Chambers was fined over a tweet he sent after Robin Hood Airport was closed by snow in January 2010
Paul Chambers' High Court victory over a supposedly "menacing" tweet has been hailed as a complete vindication by his supporters.
Mr Chambers, 28, was fined £385 and ordered to pay £600 costs in May 2010 after being convicted of sending "a message of a menacing character", contrary to the 2003 Communications Act. But on Friday three judges headed by the Lord Chief Justice Lord Judge, allowed his appeal against a Crown Court judge's decision upholding the conviction.
Mr Chambers, of Corby, Northamptonshire, said he sent the tweet to his 600 followers in a moment of frustration after Robin Hood Airport in South Yorkshire was closed by snow in January 2010, and never thought anyone would take his "silly joke" seriously.
It read: "Crap! Robin Hood Airport is closed. You've got a week and a bit to get your s*** together, otherwise I'm blowing the airport sky high!"
After the ruling, Mr Chambers, who said he had become "unemployable" because of the prosecution, commented: "It's been two-and-a-half years. At the moment I'm just feeling relieved. The Lord Chief Justice just seemed to get it."
He added: "It's an important decision as far as social networks are concerned and as far as Twitter is concerned. It has established that there has to be an action that is menacing and is intended to be menacing. It's a very big decision for people doing what human beings do - telling a joke sometimes, even if it's a bad one."
He said he was grateful for the support from Twitter users which raised awareness of his case.
"All the supporters, everyone on Twitter who sent lovely messages, they are all as important as the celebrities. It doesn't matter if it is social media or not, the law should be applied as the law should be applied - with common sense. Twitter is no different."
Broadcaster Stephen Fry immediately took to Twitter to congratulate Mr Chambers and his legal team. The star, who is taking a break from the social networking site, wrote: "Pops head up quickly: complete vindication and victory for Paul Chambers in twitterjoketrial. Well done DavidAllenGreen and team. Bye!"
Comedian Al Murray, who was in court to lend his support, wrote on Twitter "He's won", before adding: "Colossal relief here in court. Short and sweet."