I accept that we do not know exactly what happened. And I've read enough newspaper reports when I was there, to know how misleading they can be. But I cannot see beyond my instinctive response to the jailing of Mr Munir Hussain and his brother. Seems to me it sometimes undervalues the intelligence of asses to be compared with the law of our land.
The facts of the case seem to be that three burglars entered the private house of Mr Hussain and his family. Mr Walid Salem, a man who's reported to make his living from burglary, and two others then attacked the Hussains, tied them up and threatened physical violence with a knife. This must have been a terrifying experience for the helpless victims. But Mr Hussain managed to free himself before any of his family were killed, recruited the help of his brother and gave chase to the three burglars. Two escaped but they caught Mr Salem, and beat him up with a cricket bat, inflicting upon him some long term damage. The judgement of the British judicial system was that the burglars should receive no meaningful punishment (two of them escaped) for terrorising an innocent family, while Mr Hussain and his brother should be sent jail. I do not know for certain, but I feel that if I'd found myself in the same situation as Mr Hussain, I would have been so mad with rage that I, too may have allowed the finer points of our legal system to slip my mind temporarily. The last thing on my mind would have been the legal requirement that I use only 'reasonable force'. I would have been protecting my own in a cloud of red mist. Anything could have happened. The sentence handed down to Mr Hussain seems to me to defy common sense and natural justice..
Its no good blaming the judge, who job it is to interpret the laws that our politicians have passed - though, like many others, I feel that a suspended sentence would have been more appropriate. Politicians should look again at the law in relation to self defence. Law that the people think is deeply unfair brings our legal system into disrepute. The law needs to be changed, so that judges don't feel they have to take decisions that almost every single one of us think is 'bonkers'. If Shadow Home Secretary, Chris Gayling is going to publish a document entitled 'Where's the Justice in That' tomorrow, which promises to consider replacing a requirement to use only 'reasonable force' with a requirement that disallows the use of 'grossly disproportionate' force, I will welcome it. Meanwhile Mr Hussain can do nothing but await the verdict of the Court of Appeal - with the support of the nation behind him.