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Man appeals against Twitter terror fine

A trainee accountant who posted a message on Twitter threatening to blow an airport "sky high" began an appeal against his conviction and sentence yesterday, arguing that nobody would ever have taken his message seriously.

Paul Chambers, 26, was found guilty of sending a menacing electronic communication in May and was ordered to pay a £385 fine, a £15 victim surcharge and £600 costs. He later lost his job.

Chambers, from Doncaster, South Yorkshire, claimed he sent the tweet to his 600 "followers" in a moment of frustration after nearby Robin Hood Airport was closed by snow in January. The message 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!"

Yesterday at Doncaster Crown Court, his solicitor said that if the tweet was considered menacing within the meaning of the law, then so could so many other statements made in all manner of social situations. Stephen Ferguson said: "To misquote Betjeman, 'Come friendly bombs and drop on Slough'. The point is an obvious one."

The barrister said the tweet was nothing more than "facetious parody" and that the conviction should be quashed because the message could not be called "menacing". The case continues.