A former trainee accountant who described himself as "unemployable" following his conviction for sending a menancing tweet to Robin Hood Airport during the blizzards of January 2010 has finally got a new job.
Paul Chambers, who celebrated on steps of the High Court last Friday after the conviction was overturned, told his Twitter
followers on Sunday that he was preparing for work in the morning for the first time in 22 months – only this time as a warehouseman rather than a finance manager.
Chambers had lost his job after tweeting: “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!!”
The post was reported by an off-duty airport manager and not long afterwards, he was confronted with the offending message by anti-terror police officers who charged him under the Communications Act 2003 with sending a menacing electronic communication.
Chambers lost his job as a finance supervisor, was subsequently found guilty
and fined £385 plus £600 in costs as well as a £15 victim surcharge. But his case became a focus for free speech campaigners, which included comedians Steven Fry and Al Murray. Online support also came from people tweeting similar messages with the hashtag #IamSpartacus.
In spite of the protests, the Court of Appeal
upheld Chamber’s conviction in November 2011, prompting a further appeal to the High Court
. But in the opinion of the Lord Chief Justice Lord Judge and his fellow judges, the airport manager’s view that the tweet was not a credible threat should have put a stop to the subsequent prosecution.
“If the person or persons who receive or read it, or may reasonably be expected to receive, or read it, would brush it aside as a silly joke, or a joke in bad taste, or empty bombastic or ridiculous banter, then it would be a contradiction in terms to describe it as a message of a menacing character,” the judges concluded as they struck down the conviction.
Outside court, Chambers told the BBC
that the case had made him unemployable. After losing his job, he moved to Northern Ireland to join his fiancée, @crazycolours
. He found a council job through an intermediary and, although he declared the prosecution to the agency, it failed to pass the information on to his employer.
When the case came to light, he lost this job too. But Chambers has since returned to Corby and started his new job on Monday.