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Samizdata, derived from Samizdat /n. - a system of clandestine publication of banned literature in the USSR [Russ.,= self-publishing house]

Irony

This blog has reported repeatedly on the Paul Chambers case. Quickly, Mr Chambers was convicted of a criminal offence for stating on Twitter that he would “blow (Robin Hood airport) sky high” if it did not reopen soon after bad weather, because he wished to catch a flight in order to see his girlfriend. This was an obvious joke, and was understood as such by absolutely everyone, but he was convicted anyway, lost two jobs as a consequence etc etc, before being finally cleared on appeal to the High Court.

News out today. Slightly before this incident, members of
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Twitter joke not menacing after all

The conviction of Paul Chambers for making an obvious joke on Twitter about blowing an airport sky high has been quashed in the High Court.

So someone in the justice system has a brain cell to call his own. Pity the case had to get as far as the Lord Chief Justice, the aptly named Lord Judge in the job he was born for, before that person was found.

Tell you what is “clearly menacing”, though, if the future of liberty in this country means anything to you at all. The airport security manager who finked on Chambers to the
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Nuke the entire court from orbit. It’s the only way to be sure.

No, I don’t mean the US Supreme Court. The lads were doing their best. If they got a bit obsessed on the question of whether Obamacare was constitutional rather than whether it was a bad idea, you can’t really blame them. Obsessing on constitutionality is what they are paid for.

The court that is pre-eminent among the “many, many things in this so-termed civilization of ours which would be mightily improved by a once over lightly of the Hiroshima treatment”, as Robert Heinlein once put it, is Doncaster Crown Court, particularly when presided over by Judge Jacqueline Davies. It
…continue Nuke the entire court from orbit. It’s the only way to be sure.

Pretending to be scared

Remember Paul Chambers?

Twitter joke trial: Paul Chambers loses appeal against conviction

The man convicted of “menace” for threatening to blow up an airport in a Twitter joke has lost his appeal.

Paul Chambers, a 27-year-old accountant whose online courtship with another user of the microblogging site led to the “foolish prank”, had hoped that a crown court would dismiss his conviction and £1,000 fine without a full hearing.

But Judge Jacqueline Davies instead handed down a devastating finding at Doncaster which dismissed Chambers’s appeal on every count. After reading out his comment from the site – “Crap! Robin Hood
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If this is security theatre, it gets one star.

Trainee accountant Paul Chambers has been in court.

He landed a £1,000 fine after the snow closed Robin Hood airport near Doncaster in January as he planned a trip to see “Crazycolours,” a Northern Irish girl he had just met online, and he tweeted to his 690 followers: “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!!”

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
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Samizdata quote of the day

Presumably Matthew Woods learned a powerful lesson about the potential consequences of tasteless humour when a 50-strong mob turned up at his house and the police had to arrest him for his own safety. Jailing him on top of that is insane. Sick jokes can upset and offend. Hurriedly formed vigilante mobs can kill. If the state earnestly believes that the former pose a greater threat to social order than the latter, the state is nuts.

– Charlie Brooker, quoted here, on the latest person in Britain (last time I checked) to be sent to prison for a Facebook posting.
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