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Munir and Tokeer Hussain sentencing: Judge's remarks
11:00am Tuesday 15th December 2009 in News
THE following is the full transcript of the remarks of Judge John Reddihough, who sentenced Munir and Tokeer Hussain to prison at Reading Crown Court yesterday.
Munir Hussain, on the night of 3 September 2008, you and your family were the victims of a serious and wicked offence, when at least three masked men entered your home armed with knives and threatened you and your family, possibly intent on robbing you.
It was undoubtedly a terrifying experience for you and your family. The bravery of your teenage son in escaping from the house and raising the alarm and your courage in tackling one of the masked raiders, Waled Salem, brought the ordeal for your family quite quickly to an end.
It is clear that you pursued that invader of your home, Waled Salem, up the road outside and you were joined by others, including your brother and co-defendant Tokeer Hussain.
Salem was apprehended and cornered in the front garden of ...[another house in Desborough Park Road] and brought to the ground.
Four men including, as the jury found, the two of you, armed with weapons then proceeded to carry out a dreadful, violent attack upon him when he was defenceless on the ground.
That attack involved kicking and punching him, stamping upon him and striking him with weapons, including a hockey stick and a cricket bat.
The witness, Miranda McCloughlin, who was at the window immediately adjacent to where the attack was taking place pleaded with you and the two others to stop, telling you that you were going to kill the man on the ground.
She was disregarded and the attack continued. She described you and the other two men involved as acting like a pack of animals. It is purely fortuitous that the man Salem was not killed.
As it was, he suffered a number of fractures, including a skull fracture, and brain damage, giving rise to permanent injury.
It is somewhat ironic that by reason of the head injuries inflicted upon him he was unfit to plead and could not be sentenced to serve the very long period of imprisonment which would otherwise have been imposed upon him.
The prosecution rightly made it plain that there was no allegation against you, Munir Hussain, in respect of the force you used against Salem in defending your own home and family or of the force used by either of you in apprehending Salem.
However, the attack which then occurred was totally unnecessary and amounted to a very violent revenge attack on a defenceless man.
It may be that some members of the public or media commentators will assert that the man Salem deserved what happened to him at the hands of you and the two others involved and that you should not have been prosecuted and need not be punished.
However, if persons were permitted to take the law into their own hands and inflict their own instant and violent punishment on an apprehended offender rather than letting justice run its course, then the rule of law which are the hallmarks of a civilised society, would collapse. The courts must make it clear that such conduct is criminal and unacceptable.
Of course, it is to be noted that it was never suggested by you or on your behalf in the trial that there was any justification for the attack upon Salem. You simply claimed that you were not involved in it.
The jury was sure that you were involved and convicted you of this serious offence of causing grievous bodily harm with intent to cause such harm.
I take very much into account that hitherto you were both men of excellent character and have made enormous contributions to your local community and involved yourselves in various voluntary organisations.
Many character witnesses, testimonials and references spoke to those matters. You are both successful and hardworking in your business and are devoted family men.
I bear that in mind together with all of the other matters put forward so eloquently on your behalf and contained in the reports before me. I take account of the oral evidence of Dr Joseph which I have heard in relation to Munir Hussain.
I have regard to the effect this case has had and will have upon you and your families and your business.
The sentencing guidelines for this offence, the maximum sentence for which is life imprisonment, indicate that usually when such serious injuries result from such an offence, a very long sentence of imprisonment of seven years or more should be imposed after a trial.
Whilst I must have regard for those guidelines, I also have to have in mind the particular and unusual circumstances of this case and all the mitigating factors.
I have had regard, too, to relevant reported Court of Appeal cases, including R v Smith (2009), R v Fazal (2005), R v Lindley (2009) and A-G Reference 83 of 2001.
Immediately before you both committed this offence, Munir Hussain and his family had been the victims in their own home of a very serious and frightening criminal offence.
In my judgement, there was a high degree of provocation which led to this offence being committed and to you both acting out of character.
On the other hand, you involved yourselves in a terribly violent and unnecessary assault on Waled Salem which amounted to a revenge attack and you ignored pleas to discontinue what you were doing.
This case is a tragedy for you and your families. Sadly, I have no doubt that my public duty requires me to impose immediate prison sentences of some length upon you.
This is in order to reflect the serious consequences of your violent acts and intent and to make it absolutely clear that, whatever the circumstances, persons cannot take the law into their own hands and/or carry out revenge attacks upon a person who has offended against them.
The prison sentences I pass upon you are very significantly shorter than would have otherwise been imposed by reason of the degree of provocation involved and the other strong mitigating factors to which I have referred.
In your case Munir Hussain, the sentence is 30 months imprisonment and in your case Tokeer Hussain, 39 months imprisonment.
I have imposed a longer sentence on you Tokeer Hussain because in my judgement you were subject to less provocation than your brother, not having been a direct victim of the crime committed by Salem and the other men who invaded his home.
You will each be required to serve up to one half of the term imposed.