Paul Chambers appeared in court today to appeal against his conviction for sending a joke tweet threatening to blow England’s Robin Hood Airport “Sky High”, if the airport remained closed due to adverse weather.
Whilst judgement has been reserved over whether to quash the conviction, one of his most vocal supporters, Stephen Fry, has reiterated his desire to support Chambers through his ordeal and says he will continue to fund his fight to overturn the conviction.
Even since Chambers was arrested for his off-the-cuff tweets, Fry has offered his backing to Chambers throughout:
— Stephen Fry (@stephenfry) November 11, 2010
Fry has even previously said he’d be prepared to go to prison over the matter, though it’s not entirely clear how Fry could end up behind bars over his support.
In an interview with the BBC today following Chambers’ hearing, Fry said:
“Any reasonable person looking at the history of the Paul Chambers Tweet…it was so clearly a joke. It was like someone saying ‘I’ll kill my wife if she’s late again’. It’s as simple as that.
“There’s a generation of judges, and a generation of people in the Crown Prosecution Service, who just don’t get Twitter. They just don’t get social media. They don’t understand that it’s part of a conversation. It might not have been the most sensible thing to say – to connect the word ‘bomb’ with the word ‘airport’ is a slightly foolish thing to do. But any reasonable person would say that the person who wrote this tweet – not only should they not get fined thousands of pounds, but nor should they have a criminal record which means they lose their job and find it incredibly hard to find another job.”
Fry also referred to his previous contributions to Chambers’ lawyer fees and says he will continue to “fight and fight…because I think it’s a really important principle.”
It seems the weight of public opinion against Chambers’ conviction is so strong now that the appeal court must surely take note. Common sense can still win out here, even if it arrives two years late.