Stephen Fry offers to pay #twitterjoketrial fine

12 Nov 2010

Actor and broadcaster Stephen Fry has offered to pay a high court fine for a Twitter joke that went horribly wrong for one user.

The man in question, who lost an appeal against the a conviction of menace, joked publicly about blowing up an airport with a woman he met online and was ordered to pay a fine which currently stands at stg£3,600 –  a sum which Fry says he will gladly pay.

Avid Twitter users have been watching the case with interest and the hashtag #twitterjoketrial is among Twitter’s top trending topics worldwide.

The Tweet in question – “Crap! Robin Hood airport is closed. You’ve got a week and a bit to get your sh*t together otherwise I’m blowing the airport sky high!” – was deemed to be a menacing threat to security and Fry – who has 1,939,427 followers – tweeted quickly after the man’s fine, posting, “My offer still stands. Whatever they fine you, I’ll pay”.

The 27-year-old Paul Chambers, who initially lost his appeal against the conviction and £1,000 fine, must now pay £3,600 when combined with prosecution costs. He labelled the ruling “a terrible judgment in law”.

Irish comedian Dara O’Briain labelled the verdict “ludicrous” and said he felt the law was persecuting with in its approach.

“An astonishing, ludicrous result in #twitterjoketrial. A victory for crushing literalism and scare-mongering by the judiciary. Horrible,” he posted, before adding, “So that’s the banning of sarcasm, irony, sub-text and any of the other subtleties of language that we use AS GROWN UPS.”