I have just send a complaint – or “negative feedback” as the website wishes to call it – to the Crown Prosecution Service in South Yorkshire for its prosecution of Paul Chambers for making a (stupid) joke on Twitter. I reproduce it below:
If you also wish to complain, you can do so at: http://www.cps.gov.uk/contact/feedback_and_complaints/index.html
No doubt you have received numerous complaints about the prosecution of Paul Chambers for a joke he made on Twitter regarding Robin Hood airport.
I would like to add my name to that list.
This was a severely misguided prosecution and raises serious questions about the CPS’ ability to manage cases.
I understand you feel obliged to investigate complaints, even when the complainants feel similarly obliged to lodge a complaint for any form of threat made against them.
But as soon as it became clear that this was never taken seriously as a threat and if you had applied some basic commonsense, you would given the person in question a warning.
But to proceed to prosecution on a clearly light-hearted comment on a social network site beggars belief.
If Paul Chambers does appeal – and I hope he finds a lawyer that will allow him to do just that – it is inevitable that the CPS will not only lose this prosecution but be undermined in the eyes of the public.
I sincerely hope this case is being reviewed high up in your chain of command, and I hope that whoever makes the call recognises the ridiculous and insidious nature of this prosecution and issues a formal apology to Mr Chambers.
I also hope this sparks a review of your systems for deciding whether to go ahead with a prosecution. And I hope the whole CPS is also given some basic training on modern social media so you don’t make similar mistakes in future.