On Thursday, Paul Chambers had his appeal against a conviction for “sending a menacing message” turned down by a judge.
His crime was to have tweeted a joke about blowing Robin Hood airport up when snow threatened to disrupt his travel plans last winter.
His exact tweet was: “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!!”
Immediately, there was a ground swell of reaction against the verdict. The judge had reportedly concluded that the tweet was “menacing in its content and obviously so. It could not be more clear. Any ordinary person reading this would see it in that way and be alarmed.”
A statement many people vehemently disagreed with, particularly comedians such as Stephen Fry, Dara O’Briain and David Mitchell. Many members of the public showed their support against the verdict, which lost Chambers his job, and saw him being fined several thousands pounds, and gaining a criminal record.
At first, an online petition was started against the verdict, which gained 3,000 signatures, but then another movement began on Twitter itself. The #IamSpartacus channel was set up, where users replicated Chambers’ original tweet, in a stand up and be counted manner as seen in the epic film Spartacus.
As an Observer piece by Catherine Bennett points out, Chambers’ solicitor noted that anyone who forwards the original tweet could technically be charged with the same offence as he was, “since the CPS has made intention irrelevant to prosecutions under section 127.”
The channel is still very active this morning, with replica tweets or slight variations such as: “I have a dastardly plan that involves Robin Hood airport *strokes white cat*.”
The question is now, given all this reaction and publicity, will Mr Chambers appeal again? He replied to a friend on Twitter who urged him to do so: “Well I’m taking advice right now.”