The High Court is unable to agree on Twitter Joke Trial appeal

A fresh appeal hearing is ordered before three appeal judges as the case goes on.

The two-judge Divisional Court of the High Court has not been able to come to an agreed decision on the “Twitter Joke Trial” appeal and so has ordered a new hearing before three judges.

On 8 February Lord Justice Gross and Mr Justice Irwin heard the appeal by case stated of Paul Chambers against his conviction by Doncaster Magistrates’ Court under section 127(1) of the Communications Act for sending a “menacing” communication.  The message in question was a tweet expressing Chambers’ jokey exasperation at Robin Hood Airport being closed.  

There is no new date set yet for the hearing.  A split divisional court is exceptional, and it appears that this may be only the second time it has happened this century.

Prominent supporters of the campaign in support of Chambers include Stephen Fry, Graham Linehan, and Al Murray.  There is a support fund for legal fees of barristers and the many other expenses of Chambers in fighting the case.


David Allen Green is the New Statesman’s legal correspondent and is acting for Paul Chambers in the appeal.  His legal work for Paul Chambers is being funded separately from the support fund.

The Royal Courts of Justice. Photo: Getty Images

David Allen Green is legal correspondent of the New Statesman and author of the Jack of Kent blog.

His legal journalism has included popularising the Simon Singh libel case and discrediting the Julian Assange myths about his extradition case.  His uncovering of the Nightjack email hack by the Times was described as "masterly analysis" by Lord Justice Leveson.

David is also a solicitor and was successful in the "Twitterjoketrial" appeal at the High Court.

(Nothing on this blog constitutes legal advice.)

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Why did Julian Assange lose his internet connection?

Rumours of paedophilia have obscured the real reason the WikiLeaks founder has been cut off from the internet. 

In the most newsworthy example of "My house, my rules" this year, Julian Assange's dad (the Ecuadorian embassy in London) has cut off his internet because he's been a bad boy. 

Rumours that the WikiLeaks' founder was WiFi-less were confirmed by Ecuador's foreign ministry late last night, which released a statement saying it has "temporarily restricted access to part of its communications systems in its UK Embassy" where Assange has been granted asylum for the last four years. 

Claims that the embassy disconnected Assange because he had sent sexually explicit messages to an eight-year-old girl —first reported by the US political blog Daily Kos — have been quashed. Wikileaks responded by denying the claims on Twitter, as Ecuador explained the move was taken to prevent Assange's interference with the US election. The decision follows the publication of leaked emails from Hillary Clinton's campaign adviser John Podesta, as well as emails from the Democratic National Committee (DNC), by WikiLeaks.

Ecuador "respects the principle of non-intervention in the internal affairs of other states," read the statement, though the embassy have confirmed they will continue to grant Assange asylum. 

Assange first arrived at the Ecuadorian embassy in London in June 2012, after being sought for questioning in Sweden over an allegation of rape, which he denies. WikiLeaks claims this new accusation is a further attempt to frame Assange.  "An unknown entity posing as an internet dating agency prepared an elaborate plot to falsely claim that Julian Assange received US$1M from the Russian government and a second plot to frame him sexually molesting an eight year old girl," reads a news story on the official site.

It is unclear when Assange will be reconnected, although it will presumably be after the US presidential election on 8 November.

Amelia Tait is a technology and digital culture writer at the New Statesman.