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.)

Joshua M. Jones for Emojipedia
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The emojis proposed for release in 2016 are faintly disturbing

Birds of prey, dead flowers and vomit: Emojipedia's vision for 2016. 

Since, as we're constantly being told, emojis are now the fastest growing languge in the UK, it seems only appropriate that its vocabulary should expand to include more commonly used images or ideas as its popularity increases. 

Next year, the Unicode Consortium, which decides which new codes can be added to the emoji dictionary, will approve a new round of symbols. So far, 38 suggestions have been accepted as candidates for the final selection. Emojipedia, an online emoji resource, has taken it upon itself to mock up the new symbols based on the appearance of existing emojis (though emojis are designed slightly differently by different operating systems like Apple or Android). The full list will be decided by Unicode in mid-2016. 

As it stands, the new selection is a little... well, dark. 

First, there are the faces: a Pinocchio-nosed lying face, a dribbling face, a nauseous face, an upset-looking lady and a horrible swollen clown head: 

Then there's what I like to call the "melancholy nighttime collection", including a bat, owl, fox, blackened heart and dying rose: 

Here we have a few predators, thrown in for good measure, and a stop sign:

There are a few symbols of optimism amid the doom and gloom, including a pair of crossed fingers, clinking champagne glasses and smiling cowboy, plus a groom and prince to round out the bride and princess on current release. (You can see the full list of mock-ups here). But overall, the tone is remarkably sombre. 

Perhaps as emoji become ever more popular as a method of communication, we need to accept that they must represent the world in all its darkness and nuance. Not every experience deserves a smiley face, after all. 

All mock-ups: Emojpedia.

Barbara Speed is a technology and digital culture writer at the New Statesman and a staff writer at CityMetric.