Twitter Joker in Appeal Process

That man that sent a joke tweet about blowing up an Airport is due to appeal his conviction today in the high court.

"Crap! Robin Hood airport is closed. You've got a week and a bit to get your shit together otherwise I am blowing the airport sky high!" read the original tweet from Paul Chambers that has caused so much controversy.

One week after tweeting this message he was arrested by anti-terror police for making a bomb threat. Probably already thinking this was some sort of elaborate practical joke; Mr Chambers was shocked to be found guilty in a magistrate's court for "sending, by means of a public electronic communications network, a message of a menacing character", which could be one of the loosest sounding convictions ever.

The ultimate outcome of this was that he lost his job and was fined £1000; all of this because of a joke.

As Wired reports, Mr Chambers has already been through one appeals process at Doncaster Crown Court in September and November 2010. Amazingly he lost and his fines were raised to £2600. The short sightedness of the legal system in this instance was amazing, and many people agree including famous comedians. Stephen Fry famously said he would pay any fines that Mr Chambers incurred and would even be willing to face jail time to protest the results of these hearings.

The argument for this new appeal is that Mr Chambers' right to free speech and freedom of expression had been violated.

It seems amazing to me that it has reached this stage. Doesn't a court, filled with - you hope - intelligent people, see that someone who genuinely plans to blow up an airport wouldn't announce it in a public forum? Wouldn't he have gathered supplies or made plans? What evidence beyond a joke do they have that he was ready to blow anything up?

The decision made by the high court in this instance will set a precedent for future instances where jokes and statements are taken out of context to sound far worse than they actually are, making this a very important case for internet free speech.