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Twitter 'terror threat' man found guilty

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A man who joked on Twitter about blowing up an airport has been found guilty of breaking the Communications Act 2003.

Trainee accountant Paul Chambers, 26, had quipped that Robin Hood Airport had just over a week to re-open before his planned flight or he would blow it "sky high" during snow-caused closures in January.

Defending lawyer Richard Haigh told Doncaster Magistrates Court that the text was "Fawltyesque" and added that it might be "immature" or "tasteless" but was not criminal, The Daily Telegraph reports.

Chambers said: "It did not cross my mind that Robin Hood would ever look at Twitter or take it seriously because it was innocuous hyperbole."

However, district judge Jonathan Bennett found Chambers guilty of sending a grossly offensive message or one of an indecent, obscene or menacing character by means of a public electronic communications network.

"I am therefore satisfied, so that I am sure, that the defendant sent the message via Twitter and it was of a menacing nature in the context of the times in which we live," Bennett said.

"Furthermore I am satisfied the defendant was, at the very least, aware that this was of a menacing nature and I find him guilty of the offence."

Off-duty manager Shaun Duffield had alerted airport security head Steven Armson to the message after searching for the South Yorkshire hub on the social networking site. Armson said that the 'threat level' of the message was "non credible" but added that he had to pass it on to the police.

Chambers was ordered to pay a £385 fine, £600 costs and a £15 victims surcharge. He confirmed that he was considering an appeal.

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