Trainee accountant Paul Chambers, who was convicted of sending a “menacing communication” after he joked on Twitter that he would blow Doncaster’s Robin Hood Airport “sky high” if his flight was affected by weather, has won the right to appeal the decision, Index on Censorship has learned.
It is believed the case will now go before the High Court in spring 2011.
David Allen Green, the solicitor and blogger who has been advising Chambers, wlecomed the decision by Doncaster Crown Court:
“This is good news, said Green. Doncaster Crown Court has agreed to allow Appeal by Case Stated to the High Court.”
This provides the High Court with a welcome opportunity to provide guidance on the correct scope of Section 127 of the Communications Act. It will be the first time the High Court will consider what a ‘menacing communication’ means under this section.
Chambers’s conviction, and the subsequent rejection of his initial appeal, caused outrage and consternation for web users and social network enthusiasts across the world. Writing for Index on Censorship’s Free Speech Blog, IT Crowd and Father Ted creator Graham Linehan said:
“The Twitter joke trial is the clearest indication yet that the world is divided into two sorts of people at the moment. The people who “get it”, and the people who don’t.
From what I understand, much of the Twitter joke trial has involved trying to communicate to judge and prosecution what Twitter actually is. And if they don’t understand it, then how can they be trusted to make proportionate, reasonable or just decisions about it?”