The Crown Prosecution Service has found Twitter bomb joker Paul Chambers guilty, and he has been fined £1,000 after being prosecuted under section 127 of the Communications Act 2003 for sending an “indecent, obscene or menacing” tweet – a joke he posted about blowing up an airport that span out of control.
Paul Chambers was messing around on the site with friends on January 6 this year. Out of frustration he posted: “Crap! Robin Hood Airport is closed. You’ve got a week… otherwise I’m blowing the airport sky high!”
Although it probably wasn’t the funniest joke in the book he didn’t expect any harm to come from it. That was until it was forwarded to East Midlands Airport, which in turn handed it over to the South Yorkshire Police who began an investigation for a “bomb hoax”.
Up until today Paul could have been the first person to be jailed for posting obscene messages on the site. However, an announcement just released states that although he skipped a jail sentence he will have to pay a £1,000 fine.
Human rights lawyer, Dr Yaman Akdeniz, told TechEye: “This is like an April Fools joke. I can understand why there may have been an investigation as any threats need to be taken and investigated by the law enforcement agencies. However, they should not have proceeded with a prosecution. It is a waste of public sources. He could have been warned, and I am sure the investigation itself is enough punishment.”
Paul has communicated his thoughts via the networking site telling his followers: “Currently considering an appeal. Half of me just wants it to be over, the other half is indignant.”
Thousands of people have been showing solidarity through their support for Paul with people commenting and leaving messages using the #twitterjoketrial hashtag. In the 5 minutes we left the search open, 1131 new comments had been made, many of them expressing shock or anger.
Amongst others, comedian Richard Herring has mentioned creating a donation page to help Paul pay off the fine.
Two tweets we plucked out were critical of the CPS decision.
EvilJimKirk said: “This is a hell of a way for me to learn what “civil liberties” actually means #twitterjoketrial.”
Jamesdevonport tweeted “What a total outrage the #twitterjoketrial is, shows you how we have let draconian big brother style laws take over.”