Monday, July 30, 2012

Twitter joke trial conviction quashed in Britain's High Court

Joking has become dangerous in both Britain and America in recent years so it is refreshing that some sanity about it has finally emerged on at least this occasion

The country’s most senior judge has overturned a man’s conviction for joking about blowing up an airport on Twitter.

In an important High Court ruling the Lord Chief Justice, Lord Judge, said that the message posted online by Paul Chambers could not be considered “menacing”.

He pointed out that no one who saw the tweet thought it was a genuine bomb threat, and it was not sent to airport staff.

The joke about “blowing the airport sky high” was made in frustration at flights being cancelled because of the snow, and was only spotted five days later by an off-duty security manager.

“We have concluded that, on an objective assessment, the decision of the Crown Court that this ‘tweet’ constituted or included a message of a menacing character was not open to it. On this basis, the appeal against conviction must be allowed,” said the Lord Chief Justice, sitting with Mr Justice Owen and Mr Justice Griffith Williams.



Anonymous said...

Sanity in Britain? It must be a typo!

Bird of Paradise said...

Joking about bombing ISNT FUNNY

Anonymous said...

expressing frustration should not be illegal

Malcolm Smith said...

The decision was right, but I have to make the following comment.
Also every week, I hear news about someone getting into trouble for something written on social media. Either the government doesn't like it, or the boss doesn't like it, or the customers don't like it, and so forth. No doubt there are a lot more cases where friends are estrainged, which don't get reported.
Many (most?) of the complainants are over-sensitive. Nevertheless, it must be pointed out that people are using social media to shoot off their mouths and make the same off-hand comments that would previously be made only on a one-to-one basis. It is about time they remembered the old adage: Please ensure brain is engaged before setting mouth in motion.