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Twitter joke trial decision a victory for free speech
27 Jul 2012
BY PADRAIG REIDY

Paul Chambers - image by @crazycolours - http://yfrog.com/nxxnpaqjIndex on Censorship welcomes today’s decision in the high court to overturn the conviction of Paul Chambers in what has become known as the Twitter Joke Trial.

“Today’s judgment is an advance in the justice system’s handling of free speech on the web,” said Kirsty Hughes, Chief Executive of Index on Censorship. “As more and more of us use social media, it is important that the law understands how people communicate online. This ruling is a step in the right direction.”

Chambers was convicted in 2010 for sending a “menacing communication” after joking on Twitter that he would blow Doncaster’s Robin Hood Airport “sky high” if it closed due to weather conditions. He had been due to fly from the airport to Belfast to meet his now-fiancée Sarah Tonner.

Padraig Reidy

Padraig Reidy is the editor of Little Atoms and a columnist for Index on Censorship. He has also written for The Observer, The Guardian, and The Irish Times.
Padraig Reidy

2 responses to “Twitter joke trial decision a victory for free speech”

  1. […] London-based Index On Censorship called the ruling a “victory for free speech” in the wake of the […]

  2. Quixote says:

    This case raises huge issues that seem to apply quite directly to the prosecution of the “Dead Sea Scrolls” blogger in New York.

    As the Lord Chief Justice explained:

    “If he may have intended the message as a joke, even if a poor joke in bad taste, it is unlikely that the mens rea required before conviction… will be established.”

    For further information on the New York case, see:

    http://raphaelgolbtrial.wordpress.com/