Victory for hoaxer - but no job

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A SOUTH Yorkshire accountant who has won a fight to overturn a conviction for an allegedly ‘menacing’ tweet says had been made ‘unemployable’ because of his prosecution.

Paul Chambers, aged 28, was fined £385 and ordered to pay £600 costs in May 2010 after being convicted of sending ‘a message of a menacing character’ about Robin Hood Airport in Doncaster.

Now three judges, headed by the Lord Chief Justice Lord Judge, have allowed his appeal against a Crown Court judge’s decision upholding the conviction.

Mr Chambers said he sent the tweet to his 600 followers in a moment of frustration after the airport was closed by snow in January 2010, and never thought anyone would take his ‘silly joke’ seriously.

It read, ‘Crap! Robin Hood Airport is closed. You’ve got a week and a bit to get it together, otherwise I’m blowing the airport sky high!’.

After the ruling, Mr Chambers said he had become ‘unemployable’ because of the prosecution.

He said: “It’s been two-and-a-half years. At the moment I’m just feeling relieved. The Lord Chief Justice seemed to get it. It has established there has to be an action that is menacing and is intended to be menacing.”

Mr Chambers, formerly of Byram Court in Balby, Doncaster, but now living in Northamptonshire, said he was grateful for support from Twitter users including comedians Stephen Fry and Al Murray, who raised awareness of his case.

Mr Fry tweeted afterwards: “Complete vindication and victory for Paul Chambers.”

Robin Hood Airport director Steve Gill said: “Any threat against airports and those that use them is always taken seriously and in passing this information to the police our staff responded in line with normal operational procedures. The safety of our passengers and staff is of the highest importance to us and we will continue to work with police.”