Back in January 2010, Robin Hood Airport was closed thanks to a flurry of snow. Paul Chambers took to Twitter over the closure, posting: “Crap! Robin Hood Airport is closed. You’ve got a week and a bit to get your sh*t together, otherwise I’m blowing the airport sky high!!” The tweet was intended as a joke, yet a UK court didn’t see it that way, convicting Chambers in May 2010 of sending a “menacing electronic communication.” After several appeals, Chambers has finally overturned the conviction.
Chambers took to the High Court in London to put an end to the issue once and for all, with the Court finally ruling that the tweet was indeed intended as a joke, saying, “If the person or persons who receive or read it, [the message] or may reasonably be expected to receive, or read it, would brush it aside as a silly joke, or a joke in bad taste, or empty bombastic or ridiculous banter, then it would be a contradiction in terms to describe it as a message of a menacing character.”
The appeal to overturn the conviction gathered momentum as various celebrities, most notably Stephen Fry, took up the cause and pointed out the general absurdity. After the High Court overturned the conviction, Chambers said: “I am relieved, vindicated – it is ridiculous it ever got this far. I want to thank everyone who has helped, including everyone on Twitter.” It seems that common sense has finally prevailed in the UK, and jokes on Twitter can finally be seen as just that.