Paul Chambers, the Twitter joker victim, has been sacked from a second job a week before his appeal against a widely criticised conviction for sending a "threatening" message to to blow Doncaster airport "sky high".
Chambers, 27, got into a world of hurt after posting an ill-conceived update on 6 January, after inclement weather forced the Yorkshire airport to shut up shop shortly before he was fly over to Belfast to meet a girl (@crazycolours), who has since become his girlfriend.
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!
An off-duty manager at Doncaster's Robin Hood Airport reported the message to the police. Even though airport staff later testified that the update was not considered as a credible threat and had no effect on the airport's operations, a prosecution was initiated.
Chambers, of the Balby area of Doncaster, lost his job as a trainee accountant over the prosecution even before he was tried and convicted of sending a threatening message by Doncaster Magistrates' Court. Chambers' testimony that the the message was "innocuous hyperbole" was rejected by magistrates, who fined him £1,000 after ruling that he was guilty of an offence against the Communications Act 2003.
The ruling left Chambers with a criminal conviction, and he has since been sacked from a second job a week before an appeal against his conviction was due to be heard at Doncaster Crown Court on 24 September. This appeal will hinge on arguments that Chambers' ill-thought-out update could not reasonably be considered as menacing.
Lawyer Allen Green, who is coordinating the appeal, has more background on the case on the Jack of Kent blog here. Other supporters include Graham Linehan, writer of the IT Crowd and Father Ted, and ordinary internet users who have contributed to an appeal fund. ®