Sunday, December 20, 2009

The jailing of Munir Hussain.

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.


JPT said...

I'd normally be right behind Mr Hussain BUT, he did not in my opinion use reasonable force. When he and his relative caught the intruder they beat him with a cricket bat a hockey stick and a metal pipe.
He was no longer a threat when they caught him as he'd left the house and was fleeing and it was two onto one.
AFTER beating him unconscious Mr Hussain then hit him in the head with the cricket bat breaking it THREE times (on his head).
This, as the judge said, then became not self defence but revenge and punishment.
Could YOU beat someone who was unconscious about the head?
How hard is it to break a cricket bat on someone's head?? Three times!
This is not my normal line on such things as I am normally of the 'an eye for an eye' variety and would happily shoot child killers etc BUT Mr Hussein took things too far.
The robber is now I believe permanently brain damaged and (I quote) 'no longer a viable human being'. Just desserts perhaps...
The real tragedy of this case for me however is that the robber was allowed to roam free after about SIXTY convictions for similar offences.
Also this is a Pakistani beating an Egyptian on the streets of Britain.
Multiculturalism anybody?

bonetired said...

Glyn .. I have my doubts that the judge was right. There was - as I am certain you are aware - the case of the murdered sub-postmaster in Fairfield in Worcestershire. What is relevant is that the man who was killed defended himself, his parents and his business by attacking the thugs with a cricket bat. Nowhere was there any approbrium of his actions, nor was there any question that what he did was justified, even though it cost him his life. I cannot see that there was any difference between the two...

Glyn Davies said...

JPT - I'm really pleased you commented in this way. There just had to be another side to it. Its not possible for us to know all that the jury heard when they convicted Mr Hussain - which is why I began my post with a degree of uncertainty. I remember having less sympathy with Mr Tony Martin as I heard more of the background. Having said that, whenever anyone does what these burglers did, the reactions of the people terrorised is going to be unpredictable. I just do not like to think what I'd have done. I would probably have lost it completely, particularly when I was a young man. Problem is that burglars think they will get away with it with not much more than a slap over the wrist. Suspended sentence still seems to me the right punishment. The conviction stands, and there's along jail sentence if it happens again. Lets see what happens on appeal.

Bonetired - Perhaps. JPT above suggests the force may have been 'grossly disproportionate' - so there may be a difference. Despite his injuries, I cannot find too much sympathy for the burglar, after what they did to the Hussain family - but then I'm dependent on what I've read about the case.

benti said...

It was a 'home invasion', who knows how a father would react very soon after seeign his family so violated and in abject fear.

Frankly, the jury should have found the man not-guilty. In the alternative, the defense should have also argued temporary insanity following such a vile attack on the family in their own home.

There is no way, no how Mr. Hussain should have gone to jail. As a matter of public policy it was wrong to jail him - he was standing up for his family. Jailing him makes a mockery of English law; hence why jailing him was not in the interests of the public - who will now have even greater contempt and disrespect for the law.

Anonymous said...

Simple fact of life Glyn the police are more intersted in the rights of the Burglar than those who are the victims of the Burglar.

A few years ago, my brother in law got beaten up by two blokes in a pub, guess who got arrested! Give you a clue not the two blokes.

Can I draw your attention to "Ffrac Sais" blog:

Just for the record, I asked the question!!

I've got to say, the police are no longer policing by consent.

Anonymous said...

There should have been no circumstance that Mr Hussain was sent to jail. He was enraged and frightened by what had happened to his family. The burglars broke the convenant of not harming another person first, so Mr Hussain should not have been found guilty. I believe you should have full rights to use ALL means necessary if you are attacked and threatened in your own home. In the heat of the moment, when you fear for your and your family's lives - you cannot make a clinical judgement call on what is or is not reasonable force! I also think what Tony Martin did was perfectly reasonable. If the law and the police are not going to protect the innocent people of Britain, then we have to ourselves. All those bleeding heart apologists out there, it is your civil liberty-obsessed twisted logic that is causing the break down in society. Next thing you will be saying that burglars can sue people for injury if they cut their hands on the broken window they used to climb in through, or sue a rape victim for lack of sexual fulfillment! Ok, those examples are a little extreme - but so is convicting a man defending his family would have seemed only 20 years ago!

Glyn Davies said...

Benti - I never second guess juries. They were there, and I wasn't. Its just that a suspended sentence might have been more appropriate.