Following is an expanded version of the story - though given it is a story about Twitter maybe it should stay short and sweet!!
‘Trial by Twitter’ acquittal after unconvincing 140 character closing address
The ‘trial by Twitter’ of ex Tory Treasurer Lord McAlpine on sex abuse charges ended in farce after the prosecution made the elementary blunder of starting its closing address with ‘Ladies and gentleman of the jury, thank you for your careful attention during this proceeding.’ thus leaving it only 46 characters for the balance of its address.
After blowing a further 33 characters on ‘Please focus on all the evidence.’ the prosecution realised its error and redeemed itself somewhat by finishing on ‘Check Google.’.
The defence was far more convincing with a succinct 38 character closing address ‘Messham says McAlpine was not the guy.’.
Due to the enormous gravity of the allegations, the jury deliberated for a Twitter record of 29 seconds before announcing ‘what was the question again?’
After entering the acquittal, Judge Ryan thanked the jury and excused them from jury service for the next 3 hours. He also sent them a picture of a cute kitten for their trouble.
The Twittersphere swiftly reacted to the verdict with tweets such as ‘wot does acquittal mean’, ‘maybe it was Peter or Boris’, and ‘Kate’s new dress is very pretty’.
Social media commentator Peter Davis said that the case showed that despite earlier criticisms, ‘trial by Twitter’ was here to stay: ‘Justice is swift, costs are reduced, and the collective wisdom of 1,000,000 Twitter users roughly approximates that of the traditional 12 person jury.’
Leading QCs were quick to reassure their wives and mistresses that the cost saving point was overblown as they had moved to a £1,000 a character charge-out rate.