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Twitter Bomb Joke Case Rolls Back Into UK Courts 174

Posted by Soulskill
from the 140-characters-of-terror dept.
judgecorp writes "Paul Chambers, the Briton whose joke on Twitter backfired, will be back in court following a legal stalemate, after more than two years. Chambers joked about blowing up South Yorkshire's Robin Hood airport in January 2010, and was arrested and fined for 'sending a public electronic message that was grossly offensive or of an indecent, obscene or menacing character.' His resultant criminal record lost him his job as an accountant. Now his appeal has been heard, but the two judges disagreed with each other, so Chambers will be back in court again."
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Twitter Bomb Joke Case Rolls Back Into UK Courts

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  • by T-Bucket (823202)

    Seriously, who the hell uses their real information on a goddamned twitter account?!?!

    • by ClintJCL (264898) <clintjcl+slashdot AT gmail DOT com> on Tuesday May 29, 2012 @08:13PM (#40150411) Homepage Journal
      Seriously though... Who thinks not using their real name gives them protection from their government? Naive much?
      • It's not really about that tho, it's about being able to joke without being arrested.
        Imma kill all presidents of the world!
        then next morning im arrested. that .. doesn't make any sense.

        and then we get history lessons about how 200 years ago people got jailed, fined, and/or killed for a yes or no from more powerful people.
        it didn't change all that much.

    • Who uses their real information anywhere online.

      Oh... wait...

      Seriously, though. My rule of thumb (whether using Twitter where I don't use my real name or on Slashdot where I do) is: Would I feel comfortable saying this to my parents, boss, wife, kids (for topics that are kid-friendly in general), in-laws, etc.? If the answer is no, then I'm probably not going to say it online. After all, no matter how anonymous you feel behind a screen name, these things have a way of getting out to your family/co-worker

    • by ae1294 (1547521)

      Seriously, who the hell uses their real information on a goddamned twitter account?!?!

      "Paul Chambers", because he is the bomb.

      • Are you suggesting they set up him?

        • by ae1294 (1547521)

          Lets check the twitter transcript.

          Mechanic: Somebody set up us the bomb.
          Operator: Main screen turn on.
          CATS: All your base are belong to us.
          CATS: You have no chance to survive make your time.
          Captain: Move 'ZIG'.
          Captain: For great justice.

          Yes it looks like it was some kind of setup although I am not sure how to translate twitter twatter.

    • by mcgrew (92797) *

      I'm not a Twitter twit, but I use my real name on slashdot, used my real name at K5, used my real name on the websites I used to publish, used my real name in articles I wrote that Planet Quake published.

      Nothing bad that I know of has resulted, but then I never threatened to bomb an airport, either.

  • by HornWumpus (783565) on Tuesday May 29, 2012 @08:16PM (#40150445)

    Who made it illegal to be an internet tough guy? I'll kill them and feast on their children.

    When someone perfects rStabInEye, then we worry.

  • by Lord_of_the_nerf (895604) on Tuesday May 29, 2012 @08:17PM (#40150463)
    Make all your threats on MySpace, kids. It's technically public.
  • to quote "As far as I know both professional [chartered etc.]accountants and acuaries are exempted occupations under the Rehabilitation Of Oggemnders Act so employers can if they wish require disclosure of *all* convictions, whether spent or not, just the same as happens when working in health care or in contact with children or vulnerable adults. But it is then up to the employer to decide upon overall suitability for the role." so as I thought its up to the employer

    so he did not loose his job because of t

  • by Culture20 (968837) on Tuesday May 29, 2012 @09:29PM (#40151067)
    That's what I read.
  • by MsWhich (2640815) on Tuesday May 29, 2012 @11:15PM (#40151673) Homepage

    If you make a stupid joke in public about killing the president, blowing up an airport, etc., I think you can reasonably expect to have some polite men in black suits show up at your door to ask you some very serious questions. Maybe you might even have to go with them for a while to answer some questions in a secure location.

    But I don't think it is reasonable to expect that you will be arrested, charged with a crime, and lose your job over what is clearly and obviously a joke to anyone with more than two brain cells to rub together. It was a stupid joke, and a very badly-thought-out one, and I have no problem with someone facing reasonable consequences for doing something like that. But what happened to this guy has gone way beyond reasonable.

    • "obviously a joke to anyone with more than two brain cells to rub together" -> Funny you should mention that. Rumor has it, the policy enforcement agencies in the US do employ a battery of intelligence tests to ensure that they only admit applicants who will not become, well, bored with the job. The kinds of people who find tying their shoe-laces to be somewhat challenging. That sort of thing.

      But I have heard that occasionally some of the brighter variety slip through the net. I believe they're the ones

      • by causality (777677)

        "obviously a joke to anyone with more than two brain cells to rub together" -> Funny you should mention that. Rumor has it, the policy enforcement agencies in the US do employ a battery of intelligence tests to ensure that they only admit applicants who will not become, well, bored with the job. The kinds of people who find tying their shoe-laces to be somewhat challenging. That sort of thing.

        But I have heard that occasionally some of the brighter variety slip through the net. I believe they're the ones who do not feel threatened by the presence of a video camera, nor are they inclined to shoot the family dog during a raid. One or two of them might even offer opinions on current law issues that are not considered "going with the pack."

        This is one of the best posts I've read in a while.

    • what is clearly and obviously a joke

      If it's clearly and obviously a joke, then I think people shouldn't come up to you asking questions, either.

      and I have no problem with someone facing reasonable consequences for doing something like that

      I don't believe there should've been any consequences whatsoever. It's a pointless waste of taxpayer money, manpower, and time. Why not catch some real criminals?

      Reminds me of the same mentality that allows for the TSA. The terrorists are going to get us! They're hiding behind every corner! The only way to stop them is to violate everyone's rights and go completely insane with paranoia!

  • 1) Security people don't have a sense of humour
    2) Always talk nicely to someone with a gun
    3) You can't fight city hall

    The ex-accountant forgot #1. He's about to come up to #3.
  • WTF is up with British tourists and their "tweeter" accounts.

    this guy was sent home from LAX because he said he was going to "destroy" America (the same way a hungry person would destroy a burger)

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-16810312 [bbc.co.uk]

    and Stephen Fry offered to pay Paul Chambers' fees. /stephenfryisawesome

  • The ''sending a public electronic message that was grossly offensive or of an indecent, obscene or menacing character" law could have been rolled-up into the pre-existing "issuing a threat that was grossly offensive or of an indecent, obscene or menacing character" law.

    No wonder law school is so expensive.

    • by gl4ss (559668)

      well, the lawmakers saw easy money in copycatting the companies patent procedures.. old stuff + "with a computer".

  • by Lisias (447563) on Wednesday May 30, 2012 @01:18AM (#40152245) Homepage Journal

    I have nothing else to say.

  • [Director of Public Prosecutions boot boy] Smith said the tweet lacked surrounding context and therefore had to be treated as a genuine threat, rather than a joke.

    Really? Because nobody else who read it or was involved in the case ever claimed to have taken it seriously. Not the airport 'security' goon who searched for it, not the "special budget" coppers who arrested Chambers. They all said "Well, we know that it was a joke, nobody actually felt threatened, but... er... we saw it, so now we have to set

  • by Kijori (897770) <{moc.liamg} {ta} {ekaj.draw}> on Wednesday May 30, 2012 @08:46AM (#40154059)

    David Allen Green, Paul Chambers' solicitor, blogs for the New Statesman and under his own name at Jack of Kent [jackofkent.com] and has written about the case a number of times. He has also discussed it on the Without Prejudice podcasts on a number of occasions, e.g. two days ago [wordpress.com].

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