Twitter joke trial: Do “offensive” tweeters have freedom of expression rights?

In January of this year Paul Chambers used Twitter to express his feelings about the possible closure of Robin Hood Airport due to snow, which he feared would thwart his trip to Belfast to meet his new girlfriend, a fellow twitterer going by the name @Crazycolours.

He said via his @pauljchambers Twitter account:

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!!

The consequences of his tweet were summarised in the Guardian:

A week later, he was arrested at work by five police officers, questioned for eight hours, had his computers and phones seized and was subsequently charged and convicted of causing a “menace” under the Communications Act 2003 .

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