The appeal of Paul Chambers at the High Court against his conviction under section 127 of the Communications Act 2003 takes place on 8 February 2012. As I am acting as Paul’s solicitor (I happen to be a qualified lawyer as well as a journalist), I cannot really write too much about the case at the moment. However, the summary and links below should provide all the information and commentary one could want on the case.
In brief: the appeal is entirely on points of law and will centre on the correct interpretation of section 127(1) of the Communications Act 2003. Paul’s legal team, headed by Ben Emmerson QC (widely considered as the leading human rights lawyer of his generation) and Sarah Przybylska will argue that the threshold for criminal liability under section 127 should be far higher than a case such as Paul’s jokey and exasperated tweet. This will be the first time that the High Court has considered the “menacing” communication offence under section 127 and, as Ben Emmerson is leading the appeal, it promises to be a master class in the current state of freedom of expression law.
The hearing starts at 10.30 and is before Lord Justice Gross and Mr Justice Irwin. Lord Justice Gross recently held that anti-war protesters in Luton in 2009 did not have the benefit of Article 10 rights in respect of “breaches of peace”
Background to the appeal at New Statesman
My recent post on the appeal at The Lawyer
The “Case Stated” by Doncaster Crown Court at Jack of Kent
Blog by Graham Linehan
Charlie Brooker at the Guardian
Nick Cohen at the Observer
Irish blogger “CripesonFriday“
Me at New Statesman
The Pod Delusion special podcast on the fund-raising event
David Allen Green is legal correspondent of the New Statesman and solicitor for Paul Chambers.