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  • Should have gone to a jury to decide if it's menacing or not. Magistrates are not competent or the right people to hand out criminal records for such trivial matters and which often end up decent people's blighting lives.

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  • "Imagine your entire family is booked to fly on a TwitAir flight tomorrow. Tonight, a tweet appears on Twitter’s public timeline threatening that flight.
    Because of Chambers, Sky News is monitoring Twitter for things like this and reports the threat. But, because the tweet is littered with exclamation marks and couched in cartoonish terms, many think it’s a joke and the authorities don’t bother to investigate. The police tell Sky they’re going to let it slide because it’s “obviously a joke”.
    Would you let your children, spouse and parents get on that plane tomorrow? Would you really…?"
    As you quoted above, Sedley LJ says that context is everything. So, if the threat were obviously exaggerated bravado about blowing up an airport next week unless the weather improved, then yes.

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  • I agree that the charge should never have been laid by the police/CPS but, having been brought to court, the conviction and the appeal decision,whilst questionable, were not as outrageous as so many people believe. http://bit.ly/cUuLa9
    In reply to Richie Chapman, it most certainly should not have gone to a jury. I am convinced that most benches of magistrates would have brought in a not guilty verdict but you are wrong in your assessment of magistrates. Please note though that this case was originally tried by a district judge and not three magistrates.

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  • I'm sorry to have to tell you this, but I'm afraid you argue against yourself. At one point you say that David Allen Green knows perfectly well that he cannot be prosecuted for repeating Paul Chambers' tweet because Collins requires that we look at the context of the message. However, when the context has been decided to be "the times in which we live and the threat of terrorism particularly in relation to airports" (paraphrased) then this clearly applies to anything.

    This is made worse by your quite correct assertion that the message need not be menacing but can be "of a menacing character", which this would be when treated to that false context.

    I've taken your invitation to consider various scenarios and I can tell you in no uncertain terms that I would not have any negative reaction to the tweet as it was made because I understand the difference between a rant and a threat. I don't think you've really studied this case very well. C-

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  • Hang on a minute:
    "Paul Chambers seems a good and honourable person. It is undisputed that he did not intend harm towards Robin Hood Airport and he seems understandably mortified by the Kafkaesque nightmare inside which he has spent 2010."
    It is undisputed that he did not intend harm towards the airport? Who did he intend harm against then? Because I'm sure you are aware from your careful reading of DPP v Collins that mens rea is required. It is clearly not undisputed that he intended some harm.

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  • Sorry for commenting yet again, but I need to clarify an earlier point.
    "Indeed, Chambers’ intelligence helps the CPS meet section 127’s limited mens rea threshold. Collins does not require proof that Chambers intended his tweet would threaten Robin Hood Airport; the prosecution doesn’t even have to prove Chambers intended his tweet to be received by anyone connected with or using the airport. Following Collins, the CPS need only demonstrate the tweet was “couched in terms… giving rise to the inference that a risk of [causing menace] must have been recognised” by Chambers."

    The mens rea threshold is so low that when combined with the false assumption that we're all scared to death of terrorism, it is impossible to accept that the risk of menace was not recognized. Well I don't know about you, but I'm not living my life scared of terrorism. Even when I'm in an airport or on a plane I'm not worried about it. Wary, yes, but not alert to the point of being jumpy. The fact of the matter is that an incorrect context was applied.

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  • If Sky News were reporting out of context messages on twitter as fact, I'd give them the same weight as if they were reporting what they heard down the pub last night or from what was written on the back of the same pub's toilet doors.

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  • The problem with your TwitAir example is that you have substantially changed a number of aspects of the message. Your version of events threatens a specific flight for instance - making the threat somewhat more within the realm of credibility. It is something that might conceivably lay within the abilities of a lone nutter.

    Chambers' post on the other hand is clearly a joke. He clearly doesn't have the ability to take out an airport - and the post is clearly a jokey comment expressing his frustration with the airport being closed. Indeed, his "demand" focusus on something that the airport has no control over whatsoever - the weather. It was, is, and ever shall be clearly a joke.

    So, had TwitAir been flying from Robin Hood Airport and I had encountered Chambers' tweet, would it prevent me, my parents, my wider family from flying? No - it wouldn't.

    Also, I have no idea what your level of experience with the Twitter site is, but I think you may have misunderstood the nature of the public timeline. Just because something is posted there is does not mean that the wider public get to see it - merely your folllowers. True, the wider public may learn of your post by using the site's searching functionality, but I don't think many of the world's terrorists are in the business of expecting their victims to actively search for news of their diabolical schemes...

    Again - It. Was. A. Joke...

    Martin

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