June 27, 2012


Filed under: Uncategorized — madaxeman @ 4:13 pm

As I write this, I am on a London Underground train, heading for my car at Edgware, having just atteneded the latest hearing for the #TwitterJokeTrial. So how’s it gone then?

Well, as you’ll all know by now, it’s a reserved judgement. Sure, we’d like the result now, but it’s a complicated case, and so it’s not unreasonable that the judges want a little time to think about it.

I think things went well, for whatever that nay be worth, and I suspect not much because I’m no legal eagle. The judges, and especially the Lord Chief Justice, seemed very receptive to our arguments. The other side had a fair hearing as well, but I just took the impression that they were more in our camp than that of the opposition.

There are, in essence, three ways that this might go.

The nightmare scenario is that they find against us. This leaves Paul Chambers with a criminal record, and the rest of us with a very nasty case left in precedent. Paul would likely have an increased costs award. This is not really somewhere we would want to go.

Far preferable would be that the case is sent back to the lower court, with strong guidance to issue an absolute discharge. That means that Paul’s criminal record would be cleared, and he and Sarah would be able to get on with their lives.

This option was discussed in court, and were I a betting man, then this is where my money would be. However, an absolute discharge would also mean that the CPS were right to bring the original prosecution, and welcome to bring more such prosecutions in the future. Good for Paul, bad for freedom of expression.

The dream scenario of course is that the appeal truly succeeds – Paul is clear, and the CPS can’t pull this stunt again.

No matter what happens though, I think Paul Chambers can walk with his head held high. A lesser man would have scurried under a rock and taken his medecine long ago, but Paul has has the balls to fight, because he considers himself innocent – and so do I. He knows what’s at stake, and he has fought on – not just for himself, but for all of us.

I wish him and Sarah every success in rebuilding their lives, and having a bit if what the rest of us perhaps take for granted. They’re wonderful people, and they never deserved to have their dreams bashed around like this.

My appeal to you all know is simple – talk about the case. Really, just that. Make sure people understand what is at stake, and why it matters… This could have been any one of us, and if we fail, it will be.


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