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29.05.12

Divisional Court divided on Twitter bomb hoax case

The appeal by way of case stated in the "twitter bomb hoax" case has ended in stalemate and a new appeal being ordered.  Nearly months after the hearing the Judicial Office has announced that the two judges hearing the case - Lord Justice Gross and Mr Justice Irwin - are unable to agree on a decision.  stalemates such as this are highly unusual.

In January 2010 Paul Chambers was planning on flying to Belfast, but his travel plans were threatened by snow.  He jokingly tweeted Crap! Robin Hood airport is closed. Youve got a week and a bit to get your shit together otherwise Im blowing the airport sky high!"  Mr Chambers was subsequently arrested and charged under s127 of the Malicious Communications Act 2003 with sending a message over a public communications network that is grossly offensive, or of an incident, obscene or menacing character.

Mr Chambers was convicted and fined at Doncaster Magistrates' Court.  He appealed unsuccessfully to the Crown Court.  The appeal by case stated concerns questions of law regarding the interpretation of the Act and matters relating to the conviction.

A new appeal will now take place before three judges.


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