Paul chambers was found guilty today after sending a tweet,(details here http://bit.ly/hackofkentsummary ) he has been fined £1,000 and now has a criminal record. His total expense now is approaching £2,000, not a small sum to anyone really, more so when you realise that a criminal record scuppers his chances of qualifying as an accountant.( I realise sympathy levels have dropped now you know he wants to be an accountant but give him a chance)
This tweet has been referred to by the media as a “threat” to which people have responded angrily saying it was a joke. I don’t think it was a joke, I think it was the type of exaggeration that everyone does in real life, and on Twitter every day. Paul wanted to visit his friend, snow was scuppering his plans.He said “Grrrrr” but said it in a way that he will regret for a long time. Anyone could have been caught by this, people on Twitter all week have been talking of revolt, burning 10 Downing Street to the ground and kicking newsreaders around the place. What if these tweets are seen to be of a “menacing nature” as Paul’s was. Who is the next person that could be arrested? This is not paranoid ravings, A MAN WAS JUST FOUND GUILTY OF TWEETING A STUPID TWEET!
Many many people have offered to donate money and because @crazycolours (http://twitter.com/crazycolours) read my DM first I am setting it up.It is a Paypal account because everyone said that was the easiest way to go about it.Go to the Paypal.com site, click on send money and fill in the details. The account name isTwitterJokeTrialFund@gmail.com (obviously the account is one I set up for the Paypal account.) You do need to have a Paypal account to donate, I will see tomorrow if there is a way around that.
I realise most of you will not know me,or have a reason to trust me but after the initial frenzy has died down I will organise for Paul/Sarah to take over the account.(Since I started this, Stephen Fry (http://twitter.com/stephenfry) has very generously offered to pay the fine, but that still leaves Paul very much out of pocket, especially if he decides to appeal.)
@crazycolours or Paul will post the link too so as to give it legitimacy. I should also state here that I have not spoken to Paul about this, he is very busy (over a thousand mentions today) I have been dealing with @crazycolours.(EDIT: I got a DM from Paul last night, people want to donate and he appreciates that.So having one “official” place to do it makes sense.)
NOTE: Paul has 21 days to decide on whether to appeal or not and will be taking advice on this over the next few days, in the event of more money being donated than is needed , the money will be donated to a UK Civil Liberty fund, I am happy to take any advice on those, I will be checking them out tomorrow.
This has all been done in a rush, and I am sure there are questions that need to be answered in my rush to get it done.Transparancy is of the utmost importance in this so please ask any questions to either the email account (firstname.lastname@example.org) or the Twitter a/c @TwJokeTrialFund or (if I follow you,) DM me on @cripesonfriday
Graham Linehan has written an extraordinary piece here http://bit.ly/agAqgS Please read it and RT on Twitter, thanks.
The Twitter feed about this with opinions and jokes can be read here. http://twitter.com/#search?q=%23twitterjoketrial
All credit for the fund and for the various blog posts go to the many twitterers who have been so dedicated to this over the last few days. As ever with twitter, a small ad hoc community with a common goal has spontaneously formed, done a huge amount of work and become very tight knit. I feel like I've really come to know people over the last few days, and I can give my personal recommendation, all these guys are really genuine good people. They need all the help we can give them. So, spread the word if you can.