Anorak News | Paul Chambers Timeline: IAmSpartacus And The Twitter Joke Trial

Paul Chambers Timeline: IAmSpartacus And The Twitter Joke Trial

by | 22nd, November 2010

PAUL Chambers, of the Twitter Joke Trial, has instructed David Allen Green, head of media law at Preiskel & Co, and Ben Emmerson QC of Matrix Chambers, to represent him at the High Court.

A review of the matter that made a criminal of Paul Chambers and saw him fined £1,000.

6th January 2010:

Paul Chambers wants to take flight to see @crazycolours. He Tweets:

“Crap! Robin Hood Airport is closed. You’ve got a week and a bit to get your shit together, otherwise I’m blowing the airport sky high!!”

11th January 2010:

The Airport Duty Manager is searching Twitter for Robin Hood Airport (RHA). He is off duty. He finds the aforesaid Tweet. He thinks it is joke, probably. He sends it in a email to the Station Manager. The Station Manager labels it a “non-credible threat”. He then tells Special Branch, who are stationed at the Airport. The matter reaches the ears of Doncaster Police.

13 January 2010:

A mere two days alter, two officers of the law race from Doncaster Police station to Paul’s workplace and arrest him “on suspicion of making a bomb threat against Robin Hood Airport“. His phone and computer are seized.

Paul Chambers is taken to the station. Two other coppers question him. After two hours of interview they note:

“There is no evidence at this stage that this is anything other than a foolish comment posted on Twitter as a joke for only his close friends to see.”

Paul Chambers is released on bail. He must attend Doncaster Police Station on 11th February 2010.

February 11 2010:

The CPS charge Paul Chambers under section 127 of the Communications Act 2003. He is not charged with a bomb hoax offence.

19th February 2010:

Paul Chambers pleads guilty. The CPS “(wrongly) tell the court and the defence that section 127 is a strict liability offence. The case is adjourned for sentencing.”

2nd March 2010

Blogger Jack of Kent writes:

He is critical of…

“…the decision to use the section 127 offence. In particular, I am highly critical of the CPS decision to try and prosecute the section 127 offence as a “strict liability” offence, not requiring proof of wrongful intention.”

As consequence of my article, Paul seeks to change his plea from guilty to not guilty. He can do this as he had not at this point been sentenced.

Paul Chambers wants to “vacate” his plea.

10th May 2010:

The case is heard again. Paul Chambers is found guilty. He appeals.

24th September 2010:

The appeal begins at Doncaster Crown Court before a circuit judge and two lay magistrates.

Says Chambers:

“Whatever happens now, I remain terrified. Terrified of speaking my mind, terrified that my life has potentially been ruined. Most of the authorities could see it for what it was, and yet I find myself with a conviction because the Crown Prosecution Service decided it was in the public interest to prosecute.”

November 22 2010:

Our client Paul Chambers has decided today to proceed with a High Court challenge to his conviction under section 127 of the Communications Act 2003.  Paul was convicted on 10 May 2010 by Doncaster Magistrates’ Court and his appeal was turned down by Doncaster Crown Court on 11 November 2010.

Paul has instructed David Allen Green, head of media law at Preiskel & Co, and Ben Emmerson QC of Matrix Chambers, one of the UK’s leading human rights and criminal lawyers, for this challenge.  Stephen Ferguson of 2 Bedford Row and Sarah Przybylska of 2 Hare Court, who appeared at the Crown Court hearing, also continue to be instructed.

The campaign#iamspartacus

The Jokes (via Wired and #twitterjoketrial):

@daraobriain Deleting that tweet where I said “I could murder a Chinese”. just in case. #twitterjoketrial

@EmmaK67: I say, I say, my dog has no nose! *waits for RSPCA and police to arrive* #twitterjoketrial

@caitlinmoran: Christ, if people are being fined £1k for making bad jokes on Twitter, I might as well start wanking tramps for change now

@Ross_Lawson: How does an Essex girl turn the lights on? She uses a lightswitch. #SafeForTwitterJokes #twitterjoketrial

@tomlennon1: Englishman, Irishman & Scotsman go to Robin Hood airport. Are impressed with efficient service #twitterjoketrial

@EdwardStroud: I’m so angry about this #twitterjoketrial malarkey, I very well might blow up an airport


Paul Chambers And The Twitter Police: Freedom Of Expression Under Attack

British Man Becomes World’s First Person Convicted For Sending A Tweet

Man Who Twittered He’d Blow Up Doncaster Airport Arrested For Thought Crime

Posted: 22nd, November 2010 | In: Key Posts, Technology Comment | TrackBack | Permalink