Update: have-a-go-Munir Hussain has his sentence reduced

The recent case of Munir Hussain who was sent to prison for 30 months for inflicting violent vengeance on a particularly vicious burglar has had his application for his sentence to be reduced heard by the Court of Appeal.

The Court of Appeal, in refusing Munir Hussain's application to grant leave to appeal against his conviction for grievous bodily harm with intent has clearly signalled that it does not see fit to upset the law in relation to self defence.  Mr Hussain's conviction was in respect of his attack on his assailant Walid Salem with a cricket bat back in September last year. The conviction will stand but the matter did not end there for it was followed by an application to have the sentence reviewed.  On Wednesday 20 January 2010 the Court of Appeal gave it's answer.

Munir Hussain's jail term was reduced to 12 months suspended for two years.  A supervision requirement for the two years was also added.

The appeal had been heard by Lord Chief Justice Lord Judge, sitting with two other judges.  Lord Judge said he had shown "mercy" to Hussain.

Mr Hussain's brother, Tokeer Hussain, who was also jailed for causing grievous bodily harm with intent, was less successful and had his 39-month jail term reduced to two years.

Mr Hussain's family were tied up but Mr Hussain escaped and enlisted his brother's help and chased the offenders down the street, bringing one of them to the ground.

The pair left Walid Salem with what has been described as a permanent brain injury after hitting him with a cricket bat so hard that it broke the bat into three pieces.

Lord Judge made it clear that he was not altering the law in relation to self defence and what amounted to reasonable force. 

Lord Judge added: "This trial had nothing to do with the right of the householder to defend themselves or their families or their homes. The burglary was over and the burglars had gone. No one was in any further danger from them".  Lord Judge went on to say the case was one of "true exceptionality".

In the meantime, Metropolitan Police Commissioner, Sir Paul Stephenson, has entered the debate by suggesting that people who tackle criminals "make our society worthwhile".  Sir Paul has also been reported as saying "I have worried on occasions that we have got the advice slightly wrong. People have to make reasonable judgements, but actively discouraging people from being active citizens seems to me to be wrong. Our first response should not be to discourage people from doing it. It should be to applaud their bravery and courage. Our first response should be to express gratitude that we have got citizens who would do that thing."

Others may also feel that it is only right to acknowledge an individual's bravery and courage in tackling offenders but this does not make it any easier for the families of such have-a-go-heroes.

What is perhaps surprising is that Sir Paul's remarks have been made at a time when concerns have been raised after three people have been killed in recent weeks, in London alone, after intervening in difficult and risky situations.

Sukhwinder Singh 31, died.  He was stabbed after chasing muggers who had snatched a woman's handbag in Barking, East London.

Frazer Bradshaw , 33, died after suffering fatal head injuries.  Frazer had tried to break up a brawl outside a pub in Uxbridge, West London.

David Joslin , 23, died as a result of fatal injuries sustained as a result of trying to break up a fight between two groups in Chingford, East London.

Something tells me this debate will continue.








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