@John A Blackley
Don't blame the airport authorities - they guy who reported this had to do so because of the procedures. In court they testified they did not take it seriously. The first problem was with the police - they turned it into some form of spectacle by turning up (armed no less) to arrest Paul Chambers at work. The second problem was the CPS, in that they appear to have gone out of their way to justify this enormous reaction by the police. When they found that the original cause of arrest was unsupportable (that of making a threat), they found an obscure sub-section of a statute aimed at preventing harassment phone calls and applied it. By this time, a well known legal blogger (David Allen Green aka Jack of Kent) had picked up on a potential miscarriage of justice and advised Paul Chambers that he had a good case to plead "Not Guilty".
However, yet another state-appointed official in Doncaster - a stipendiary magistrate (or a lawyer paid by the state) went along with this finding the original tweet was "menacing". This involved postulating some theoretical individual that would have found such a tweet menacing, despite the slightest evidence that anybody had ever found it so, and only the possible existence of this particularly feeble-minded cousin of "The Man on the Clapham Omnibus" might be slightly troubled. Shockingly, this verdict was supported on the first appeal. Those of us with a cynical sort of mind (or, rather experience of bureaucracies, the member's of which first instinct is to protect the system) were not surprised. What it actually took was some judges senior enough to put aside the
The real question here is about role of the DPP (Keir Stammer), whose personal decision it appears to have been to oppose the appeal. Anybody bringing a reasonable amount of common sense to this would have noted it was an unsupportable case. One has to wonder if he has the right qualities of judgement to be in that post.
So, don't blame the people low down the food chain - it appears the higher up the system it got, the more those further up chose to defend the indefensible. This could have been cut short at any time by somebody with the courage to recognise a major system failure. As it is, we should all be hugely grateful to those involved in the the defence, like David Allen Green and, most critically of all, Paul Chambers as if we are to criminalise hyperbole and bad taste jokes many of us are in trouble. I should also add a vote of thanks to the judges who made this deliberation. Some have said that the prosecution should have made us doubt the system, but ultimately it is the facility to correct which is surely more important.
nb. "The Man on the Clapham Omnibus" has real significant legal influence in the law of England and Wales, whatever his fictitious nature...