Munir Hussain and victims' rights
Munir Hussain is a British businessman and community leader. He was jailed for 30 months following an attack on a burglar who had broken into his home and threatened him and his family. This caused controversy because the law was perceived by some to be biased in favour of the perpetrator instead of the victim.

Biographical details, with ages as at the date of the burglary

Munir Hussain, 53, is married to Shaheen Begum, 49, has two sons Awais, 21 and Samad, 15, and two daughters, Farah, 25 and Arooj, 18. His brother Tokeer Hussain, 35, was also jailed for 39 months for taking part in the attack on the burglar.

Munir Hussain trained as an engineer and runs Soundsorba Ltd, a High Wycombe based business which employs 9 people and turns over 2.4 Million GBP per year. He is also a former chairman of the Wycombe Race Equality Council and chairman of the Asian Business Council, which he helped found. In 2004, Hussain won the Business Link small business of the year award.
Hussain is a leading figure in the town's voluntary organisations and was a major force in setting up the Green Street Community Centre in Desborough Street.

Confrontation with intruders and imprisonment

On 3 September 2008, during Ramadan
Ramadan is the ninth month of the Islamic calendar, which lasts 29 or 30 days. It is the Islamic month of fasting, in which participating Muslims refrain from eating, drinking, smoking and sex during daylight hours and is intended to teach Muslims about patience, spirituality, humility and...

, Mr. and Mrs. Hussain, their two sons and daughter Arooj, returned home to their house in High Wycombe
High Wycombe
High Wycombe , commonly known as Wycombe and formally called Chepping Wycombe or Chipping Wycombe until 1946,is a large town in Buckinghamshire, England. It is west-north-west of Charing Cross in London; this figure is engraved on the Corn Market building in the centre of the town...

, Buckinghamshire, England, from their mosque, when they were confronted and tied up by three masked intruders. According to Awais
Samad broke free, fleeing upstairs pursued by two of the masked men, and managed to raise the alarm. Meanwhile Munir turned on the remaining intruder Walid Salem. Munir chased him off the premises and was joined by his brother Tokeer Hussain, who lived a few doors away. Munir and Tokeer brought Salem, a criminal with more than 50 previous convictions, to the ground in a neighbour's front garden. Salem was then subjected to a ferocious attack which left him with a brain injury and a fractured skull. Witnesses said about four Asian men were seen battering Salem with implements including a hockey stick and cricket bat. One witness pleaded with the attackers to stop, telling them that they were going to kill the man on the ground, but she was disregarded.

At Reading Crown Court
Crown Court
The Crown Court of England and Wales is, together with the High Court of Justice and the Court of Appeal, one of the constituent parts of the Senior Courts of England and Wales...

 on 14 December 2009, Judge John Reddihough sentenced Munir Hussain to 30 months in prison whilst sentencing Tokeer to 39 months in prison (full transcript of judgement). Tokeer was given a harsher sentence because the judge said he had not faced as much provocation as his brother.
On 20 January 2010 the Court of Appeal reduced Munir's sentence to one year, suspended for two years, which meant he was immediately freed. Tokeer's sentence was reduced to two years, but not suspended, which meant he remained in prison. This ruling was criticised by some lawyers as paying too much attention to media attention and public outcry, and they claimed that the law worked well as it stood, whilst other people (for example Chris Grayling, the Conservative shadow Home Secretary
Home Secretary
The Secretary of State for the Home Department, commonly known as the Home Secretary, is the minister in charge of the Home Office of the United Kingdom, and one of the country's four Great Offices of State...

) believed the law should be changed.

It was later claimed that the motive for the break-in was not burglary
Burglary is a crime, the essence of which is illicit entry into a building for the purposes of committing an offense. Usually that offense will be theft, but most jurisdictions specify others which fall within the ambit of burglary...

, but that a man who (wrongly) believed his wife had had an affair with Munir Hussain had hired the three intruders to carry out an 'honour' attack. The wife stated there was no affair and that her only relationship with Munir was a business one, but her husband had become jealous because she had been happy at work. The wife is under police protection. The reports came as a surprise to the Hussains who believed the motive was robbery
Robbery is the crime of taking or attempting to take something of value by force or threat of force or by putting the victim in fear. At common law, robbery is defined as taking the property of another, with the intent to permanently deprive the person of that property, by means of force or fear....

. However during the Hussains' first trial, John Price QC, prosecuting, noted:
On 29 March 2010 at Reading Crown Court, Wahleed Hussain, Munir's nephew, was freed after the jury were unable to reach a verdict over a charge of grievous bodily harm with intent relating to the attack on Salem. After the trial had ended (the last involving members of the Hussain family) Munir Hussain spoke out against his treatment:

The contentious issues

The contentious issues are the length of the time gap between when Munir Hussain broke free and the degree of force used during the subsequent attack on Walid Salem. As Judge Reddihough made clear in his original judgement and also as the director of public prosecutions
Director of Public Prosecutions (England and Wales)
The Director of Public Prosecutions of England and Wales is a senior prosecutor, appointed by the Attorney General. First created in 1879, the office was unified with that of the Treasury Solicitor less than a decade later before again becoming independent in 1908...

, Keir Starmer
Keir Starmer
Keir Starmer, QC, is a barrister in England and Wales. He became the fourteenth Director of Public Prosecutions and the sixth head of the Crown Prosecution Service on 1 November 2008...

 QC, said after the conviction of Munir.

Hence if there had been no time gap, and Salem had been subjected to a ferocious attack, or even killed, whilst Munir was breaking free of Salem, Munir would probably not have been charged. On the other hand, if Munir had had time to reflect on what had happened, and had then looked for Salem and beaten him up, his appeal would probably not have been successful, because it would have been considered a revenge attack. Unfortunately for Munir, English law treats the initial escape by Munir and the subsequent attack on Salem as two different incidents, whilst from Munir's point of view it could be argued there was no separation. The appeal succeeded (partially) because

The intruders

In September 2009, Walid Salem, then 57, a criminal with more than 50 previous convictions, was given a two year non-custodial supervision order to the charge of false imprisonment
False imprisonment
False imprisonment is a restraint of a person in a bounded area without justification or consent. False imprisonment is a common-law felony and a tort. It applies to private as well as governmental detention...

 of the Hussain family, as he was considered unfit to plead due to brain damage caused by the attack by Munir and Tokeer Hussain.

On 4 January 2009 Salem was arrested for a further five offences he was accused of committing after he had recovered from the attack. However On 21 December 2009 he received an absolute discharge because he was deemed unfit to plead.

A Member of Parliament
Member of Parliament
A Member of Parliament is a representative of the voters to a :parliament. In many countries with bicameral parliaments, the term applies specifically to members of the lower house, as upper houses often have a different title, such as senate, and thus also have different titles for its members,...

 condemned this absolute discharge and what he saw as a failure of the criminal justice system:
The other two intruders have not been apprehended.

Other cases

Other notable cases involving the use of force by victims:
  • Tony Martin (farmer)
    Tony Martin (farmer)
    Anthony Edward "Tony" Martin is a farmer from Norfolk, England, who in 1999 killed one burglar and wounded another who had both entered his home...

  • Death of John Ward
  • Fred Hemstock
  • Omari Roberts
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