Page last updated at 18:34 GMT, Wednesday, 20 January 2010

Jailed intruder attacker Munir Hussain freed by court


Munir Hussain was freed from prison and later returned home

A businessman who was jailed for permanently injuring an intruder who attacked him and his family has been freed by the Court of Appeal.

Munir Hussain, 53, was sentenced to 30 months for grievous bodily harm with intent after he hit Walid Salem with a cricket bat on 3 September 2008.

Hussain and his family were tied up at home in High Wycombe, Buckinghamshire.

On his release he said he was "very happy". His jail term was reduced to 12 months suspended for two years.

There is also a supervision requirement for the two years.

Hussain was released from Bullingdon Prison in Oxfordshire where he had been serving his sentence.

We're grateful for all the support we have received from the entire nation, and all the support from the media
Awais Hussain, son

Speaking outside his father Zamin Ali's house on Desborough Park Road, in High Wycombe, Hussain said: "First of all, thank you all the media for supporting us while we've been away.

"That support has been very comforting. I'm very happy, but obviously my brother is still there."

His younger brother Qadeer Hussain said they were going to spend some family time together and have a meal.

Lord Chief Justice Lord Judge, who was sitting with two other judges in London, said he had shown "mercy" to Hussain.

Hussain's son, Awais Hussain: "They were saying to us they were going to kill us"

His brother, 35-year-old Tokeer Hussain, who was also jailed for causing grievous bodily harm with intent, had his 39-month jail term reduced to two years.

Hussain's son, Awais Hussain, said the family was grateful for all the support it had received.

Speaking outside court, he said: "We're extremely grateful to the Court of Appeal and the Lord Chief Justice for releasing my father.

"We're grateful for all the support we have received from the entire nation, and all the support from the media.

"Whilst it will be great to have my father home immediately, our thoughts will be with my uncle, Tokeer Hussain, who won't be released as yet... We hope he stays strong."

He added: "I don't think our family will ever get over it."

Hussain and his brother, who were both described as being at the heart of their community, were imprisoned in December after being found guilty at Reading Crown Court.

The court heard Hussain and his wife and children returned from their local mosque to find intruders wearing balaclavas in their home.

Clive Coleman, legal affairs analyst

The 2008 Criminal Justice and Immigration Act provides that homeowners who use reasonable force to protect themselves against intruders, and use no more force than is absolutely necessary, should not be prosecuted.

However, there are additional factors. The homeowner should be acting instinctively, fear for their own safety or the safety of others, or act in order to make a lawful arrest (or prevent someone who is lawfully detained from escaping).

The law does not protect those who set upon a fleeing criminal or who lie in wait to attack them. This would amount to people taking the law into their own hands.

The Lord Chief Justice made it clear that the Hussain case was 'exceptional', and that the 'call for mercy' had to be answered.

They were tied up but the businessman escaped and enlisted his brother to help chase the offenders down the street, bringing one of them to the ground.

The pair left Salem with a permanent brain injury after hitting him with a cricket bat.

The force of the blow was so hard that it broke the bat into three pieces.

Lord Judge said: "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."

The decision to free Hussain comes one day after judges rejected his appeal against his conviction.

Lord Judge said the case was one of "true exceptionality".

Metropolitan Police Commissioner Sir Paul Stephenson said people who put themselves in danger to tackle criminals should be celebrated as "heroes".

Courageous members of the public "make our society worthwhile", he said as part of a widening political debate about the rights of people to use force to defend themselves.

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