December 22nd, 2009

The Course of Justice

Posted in The Job - Comment by 200

There can’t be many things more frightening than having a group of thugs armed with knives break into your house, tie you up & threaten to kill you.

This is what happened to Munir Hussain in September last year. He arrived home with his two sons to find 3 burglars had tied up his wife & 18-year-old daughter. Munir & his sons were also tied & all 5 were forced to lie on the floor or they would be killed. Mr. Hussain was also beaten by the thugs.

One of the sons managed to escape & alerted Miner’s brother, Taker, when he arrived the criminals ran off but were chased by Taker & Munir who caught one of them in a garden. The brothers set about Waled Salem with a pole, a hockey stick & a cricket bat. He was left with a fractured skull & a brain injury.

Both brothers were charged with an offence of GBH & Salem was charged with an offence of aggravated burglary.

Salem, who had 50 previous convictions, broke into someone’s house armed with a knife – remember the government’s tough stance on knife crime – received a supervision order, yes you did read that right, 50 pre-cons, a nasty aggravated burglary & a supervision order.

The Hussain’s on the other hand were both jailed. Munir for 30 months & Tokeer for 39.

Jailing the pair, Judge John Reddihough said: “If persons were permitted to take the law into their own hands & inflict their own instant & violent punishment on an apprehended offender rather than letting justice take its course, then the rule of law & our system of criminal justice, which are the hallmarks of a civilised society, would collapse.”

Just as an aside, if the Hussain’s had let justice take its course presumably that would have led to completely nothing since, to date, the other violent burglars have not been found. And if they had been found would justice mean a supervision order, or in other words, as close to getting off scot-free as possible?

Doesn’t this open up a whole new black kettle of worm can ball games?

I started writing this entry a couple of days ago & wish I’d published it then as today the case has appeared on the national TV news & on the front page of the papers where the Conservative Party are discussing the need to change the law on self-defence, though this particular case seems to be one of self-defence after the fact.

There will be many people completely appalled at the prison sentence given to the Husssains, which kind of makes the other point swallowed up, i.e. how the fuck can someone with 50 convictions who is convicted of entering someone’s house armed with a knife, tieing up 5 people & threatening to kill them whilst carrying out a particular nasty burglary, get away with a supervision order?

The sad thing is that while most people would think this is a travesty, the facts are that it is nearer the norm than you might expect. But back to the case in hand.

Should a man go to prison who has caught a violent criminal having been subject of a nasty aggravated burglary? I expect there will be many people who say give the man a medal, but bear in mind he attacked him so severley with a cricket bat & other items that the bat broke & the scumbag was left with brain damage. I’ve not yet seen any of the reports detailing exactly what the burglar’s injuries were. Was the judge’s leniency based on the ‘he’s already suffered enough’ principle?

There’s a balance to be had in protecting someone who uses violence to defend themselves, their families & their property & clearly someone who seeks to enter your home must expect to be met with a bigger stick than the one he’s carrying, but are we saying a man should be able to go above & beyond what is required to protect themselves? The Hussains did go a step too far. It was probably right that they should be prosecuted. But I don’t believe it is right to make an example of them & there was surely an alternative to imprisonment, after all, the guy with 50 convictions was able to take advantage of one of them.

There are many cases we can hold up as an example why victims should be protected from prosecution, I’m not sure the Hussain’s case is one of them.

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