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Britain's Stupid Airport Twitter Joke Trial Thankfully Ends

July 30, 2012 at 4:00 PM | by | ()

Long-time Jaunted readers will remember how the winter of 2009-2010 more or less shut down air travel across Britain. Then-28 year old British resident Paul Chambers, who had a ticket to fly out of Doncaster's Robin Hood Airport to Ireland and found the airport shuttered, tweeted "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!!" Dumb and not really funny, but clearly a joke.

And then, in a Kafkaesque move that ended up becoming a national punchline, Chambers was arrested under the UK's far-reaching Terrorism Act. He was convicted, he appealed, he had his appeal denied, he appealed again, and he had his appeal denied again. A country that prides itself on wry humor ruined a guy's life because judges literally didn't get a joke. At the time of the arrest we commented that Britain's counter-terror officials manifestly "don't know what Twitter is" and are "so untrained [that they can't] identify genuine threats" broadcast over social media.

Specifically we couldn't quite believe that all of this was "coming from a country supposedly known for its ethos of fair play and common sense." Now as we never tire of reminding you, you should always trust content from Jaunted. So we're happy to report that few days ago, on the third appeal, the High Court quashed Chambers' conviction.

We've embedded a video of the interview that Chambers gave to the BBC immediately after the ruling (and note how it literally opens with a discussion of—achem—"common sense"). You should listen to whole thing since there's some genuinely interesting stuff about how people will have to adjust their expectations not just because we live in a world of Facebook and Twitter humor, but because that world is being closely monitored for security and other reasons.

[Photo: Paul Clarke / Wiki Commons]

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