Hefty legal bill for Twitter bomb threat man after appeal fails
A trainee accountant who posted a message on Twitter threatening to blow an English airport “sky high” is facing a £3,000 bill after he lost his appeal against his conviction and sentence.
Paul Chambers (27) was said to be “disappointed and taking legal advice” after his appeal was dismissed by a judge at Doncaster Crown Court.
Chambers, who is from Doncaster but now lives in Northern Ireland, had been planning to go to Belfast on January 15 to meet a woman he had met through Twitter, who has been identified in court only by her Twitter alias, Crazy Colours.
The trip from his local airport, Robin Hood, was threatened by the closure of the runways due to snow.
Earlier this year he was found guilty of sending a menacing electronic communication by a district judge at Doncaster Magistrates Court.
Chambers, who lost two jobs because of the prosecution, argued that no-one would ever have taken it seriously and launched a legal action to clear his name.
However, Judge Jacqueline Davies, who was sitting with two magistrates yesterday, ruled the message was menacing.
She said: “We take the view an ordinary person seeing this would see it in that way and be alarmed.
“The airport staff did see it and were sufficiently concerned to report it.”
She described the defendant as an “unimpressive witness.”
She added: “We find it impossible to accept that anyone living in this country, in the current climate of terrorist threats, would not be aware of the consequences of their actions in making such a statement.”
Chambers claimed he sent the ‘tweet’ to his 600 “followers” in a moment of frustration after the airport was closed.
Following his conviction he had to pay a £385 fine and £15 victim surcharge. Yesterday, unemployed Chambers was also ordered to pay prosecution costs of £2,600.
After he moved to Northern Ireland, he took up temporary employment with a local council.
He told his council employers in September how his appeal against his conviction was coming up, to give them prior warning his name would be in the papers.
But instead of being given time off to attend the hearing, he was dismissed.
The tweet he sent in the early hours of January 6 said: “Crap! Robin Hood Airport is closed.
“You've got a week and a bit to get your s*** together, otherwise I'm blowing the airport sky high!”