A Twitter user today won a legal victory in favour of irony as the High Court upheld his right to make a joke about blowing up an airport.
Paul Chambers was fined £385 and ordered to pay £600 costs at Doncaster magistrates court in May 2010 after being convicted of sending 'a message of menacing character' in contravention of the 2003 Communications Act.
He said he sent the tweet to his 600 followers after Robin Hood Airport in South Yorkshire was closed by snow in January 2010.
The Tweet read: '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!"
In November 2010, a crown court judge dismissed his appeal, saying that the electronic communication was "clearly menacing".
Last month, John Cooper QC told the lord chief justice Lord Judge Justice Owen and Justice Griffith Williams the wrong legal tests had been applied and that Chambers's right to freedom of speech under the European convention was engaged.
He said it was obvious the tweet was a joke and it was sent by someone who did not hide his identity.
Today the court upheld is challenge against the conviction.
Meanwhile, a new social media freedom of speech row could be brewing as regional press publisher Northcliffe seeks to unmask the anonymous Twitter user being a spoof account lampooning chief executive Steve Auckland.
It has filed a legal action against Twitter in the US and the social network company has agreed to hand over details it has which may reveal the identity of the individual behind the @unstevedorkland account.
The person behind @unstevedorkland have said they will make a legal challenge to the order before the 1 August deadline.
Northcliffe's legal action against @unstevedorkland was first exclusively revealed in Press Gazette's weekly digital magazine edition on 19 July.