COMEDIAN Steven Fry told a benefit show to help a Doncaster man pay legal bills he is prepared to go jail to back his cause.
Paul Chambers is appealing against his conviction for sending a menacing communication after putting out a Twitter message which was interpreted as a bomb threat against Robin Hood Airport.
It stated “Robin Hood Airport is closed. You’ve got a week... otherwise I’m blowing the airport sky high!”
Chambers, who was living at the time at Byram Court, Balby, but has now moved to Northern Ireland, said the message was a joke.
Mr Fry was among a number of comedians at the benefit gig at London’s Bloomsbury Theatre, aiming to raise funds for Chambers’ appeal. Other celebrities at the fundraiser included Al Murray, Katy Brand and Father Ted writer Graham Linehan.
Mr Fry said Mr Chambers’ tweet was an example of Britain’s tradition of self-deprecating humour and banter.
Hundreds have re-posted Chambers original comments in protest at his conviction.
Mr Fry said of the verdict: “This must not be allowed to stand in law.”
He added he would continue to repeat Chambers’ message and face prison “if that’s what it takes”.
Chambers was among those at the event. His lawyer David Allen Green said the decision to find his client guilty “does not make me proud to be an officer of the court”.
He added: “We should be able to have banter. We should be able to speak freely without the threat of legal coercion.”
Chambers sent the message in January 2010. He claimed it was in a moment of frustration after Robin Hood Airport was closed by snow. He was found guilty in May 2010 and fined £385 and told to pay £600 costs.
His appeal is set to go to the High Court later this year.