Tuesday, 11 May 2010

Twitter joke trial

Several things in this world literally make no sense. When checking in at an airport they'll check you for guns, knives, and bombs, but nobody ever asks if you're a Ninja, and that off the cuff comments on the net can now make you a terrorist.

Well, they can if your name is Paul Chambers and you happen to be stuck facing the criminally inept CPS. For those not paying attention to the interwebs lately, the good Mr Chambers was crazy enough to vent some frustration at this country's inability to function under anything less than perfect conditions on Twitter, and was swiftly arrested for his trouble. You see when I tweet to say "Right, that's it, I'm going to kill everyone", that's just dandy, but if I tweet to say "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!" that's not. And don't go pointing out the latter even includes context as either, there's no place for common sense around these parts! Incidentally I CAN say that here as I used quotation marks, miss them out and it's £1000 fine and soap on a rope for Christmas. So be careful when you start hitting that copy/paste function.

A much better summary of events can be found here and here But in essence what this means is that the CPS found it in the public interest to prosecute someone, based on that 1 tweet, and a history of doing nothing wrong what-so-ever. A policy which pretty much means that anyone who's ever used a Social Network of any sort in their life is in for a criminal record.

Luckily the public themselves have also decided that what is actually in their best interest, having footed the bill for the trial anyway, is to put their hands into their pockets once more, and also foot the bill for the fine and legal costs. What exactly that does to the CPS's wonderful version of 'Public Interest' is unknown. But in my world the public just put the CPS on trial and found them wanting in a pathetically embarrassing way.

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