THE headlines will probably imply that, once again, a law-abiding citizen has been prosecuted and jailed for defending himself and his family when they were attacked and threatened by intruders in their home. The judge praised Munir Hussein, a respected businessman in High Wycombe, for his courage in protecting his wife and three children but then sentenced him to three years imprisonment for the violence of his response. After Mr Hussein managed to escape and raise the alarm one of the intruders who ran away was followed and knocked down by Mr Hussein and his brother who lived nearby. They attacked Walid Salim with a cricket bat and injured him so severely that he suffered permanent brain damage.

The case of Tony Martin, who shot dead a burglar at his Norfolk home, will come to mind. New legislation was introduced in 2008 that gives a degree of protection to homeowners who use reasonable force to defend themselves. But the judge in Mr Hussein's case clearly thought that the action of attacking the intruder even when he had been caught went beyond the concept of reasonable force. The charge against him of causing grievous bodily harm with intent can lead to a life sentence but the judge rightly used his discretion to give a lighter sentence because of the circumstances surrounding the case.


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