I really am starting to think that to be a Daily Mail columnist you have to have an almost complete lobotomy. During the procedure almost your entire brain is removed leaving just the ability to stab your fingers at a keyboard and generate the ‘outrage’ emotion that blindly fuels any argument you’re putting forward. Today’s ‘I’m so stupid I’ve had my brain removed and so write for a tabloid newspaper’ moment is from Allison Pearson, who I don’t recall writing about before. Her main piece is on Munir Hussain, the man convicted for attacking a man who broke into his house with a couple of others and held him and his family hostage. Eventually Munir Hussain was able to escape and chase one of the attackers out of his house. So as far as this goes you can probably imagine the foaming mouths of Daily Mail readers: man defends home, man is imprisoned for it.
It gets better. The fleeing attacker that Munir Hussain caught actually gets away without being sent to prison. It is, as I’m sure every Mail reader would agree: PC gone mad.
Allison Pearson certainly thinks so:
Last year, the Government introduced a Bill that was supposed to protect people who fought back against burglars, so long as they didn’t use disproportionate violence.
It is unclear what Mr Hussain, whose family had suffered such disproportionate violence, was supposed to do. Invite the masked intruders to put down their blades, take a seat and wait for the coppers to turn up?
It almost sounds like she is making a reasonable point, until you remember that she has no brain and is writing purely in ‘blind outrage’ mode. Turn away from the Daily Mail report (which funnily enough doesn’t go that much into depth on what action Munir Hussain actually took) and you’ll find the following details. One of Munir’s sons escaped the house, alerted the police and got a neighbour round. As he escaped the house two of the attackers fled, leaving Salem (the final attacker) to flee by himself. Munir and two others followed Salem and cornered him. They swiftly incapacitated him. Surely the three men would now wait for the police – who are on their way – because, after all, the family are safe and all the attackers have left the house?
Err, no, the three men decide to beat the shit out of the defenseless Salem – according to This is Local London:
The court was told one of the sons escaped to his bedroom upstairs, called the police and then left via a window, managing to get to the ground floor and to safety.
Two of the men went upstairs to find him and fled when they failed to find him, Mr Price said.
The family and the masked man downstairs heard the boy as he jumped, jurors heard.
Munir Hussain was “emboldened by this turn of events” and “hurled a coffee table at the man”, Mr Price said.
A struggle ensued and the balaclava was ripped from the intruder’s face before he fled the house, the court was told.
Munir Hussain and three others were seen chasing Mr Salem, before cornering him and beating him up, according to witnesses. This did not involve the two sons held in the house.
Mr Price said Mr Salem could have “died from his injuries because they were so severe”.
He was attacked with weapons including a metal pole and cricket bat in a small front garden belonging to neighbour Miranda McCoughlin, the court heard.
One man was bent over Mr Salem, punching him in the face and saying ‘who sent you?’ according to her written testimony, summarised by Mr Price.
Others kicked and stamped on him, he said.
A statement from neighbour Mark O’Brien, said: “The man on the floor was screaming like I never heard screaming before.
“I heard him say ‘stop, please stop’. I really thought that they were going to kill the man on the floor.”
Mr Price said: “Other residents in Desborough Park Road who saw the attack all of them without exception remarked on its apparent ferocity.”
Mr Salem was taken to Stoke Mandeville Hospital with severe bruising to the brain, a fractured jaw, elbow and finger and later to the neurology ward at John Radcliffe Hospital, Oxford.
The cricket bat used to beat Salem was used with such force that the bat broke into 3 pieces. This isn’t the defence of home or family, this is a revenge attack against a defenceless man who they should have just held until the police got there.
Allison Pearson on the other hand still claims that Munir Hussain is ‘no vigilante. He is, however, a good man, a law-abiding citizen who took violent action after the most horrible provocation.’
This was an exceptional case. Robberies are committed and the culprits caught and restrained and beaten up in the UK every year and the judge does not prosecute the home owner because it is normally reasonable force and takes place inside the home. In this case 3 men chased down and incapacitated a burglar (which the judge says was perfectly within the law and reasonable) and then subjected a defenceless man to a brutal attack that nearly killed him – even though at this point he was no threat and other people tried to stop the attack.
If we all reacted like this we would have anarchy. I have no issues with using whatever force necessary to protect those that I love, but in this case his loved ones were by this point safe and the threat was completely neutralized. Hussain and his two helpers took it upon themselves to nearly beat to death a defenceless man, not something I’d like to find ‘entirely understandable’.
Furthermore, whether it is understandable or not isn’t really relevant, it was still a vigilante attack and this is illegal. People are convicted by courts, not by the victims of crime – otherwise the death penalty would be brought back and victims would be hanging every criminal in the country.
A final point regarding the punishment of Salem, if you can understand the desire for Hussain to have revenge and understand that Hussain and two others nearly beat Salem to death in a revenge attack. Then surely because they meted out on the spot ‘justice’ in the form of a metal bar and cricket bat (which incidentally broke into 3 pieces as they hit Salem that hard with it) they have no right to expect the court to issue further punishment? Surely a man can only be punished once for any one crime. In this case the judge clearly thinks that his punishment was nearly dying at the hands of those he sinned against.
If the family wanted to ensure he was punished through the right channels then they should have left him for the police, not doled out their own version of justice. I can understand the arguments put forward by people who think this judgement is wrong, I really can. However, Allison Pearson implies that Hussain was merely protecting his family (as if he had administered the beating inside his own home with his family under threat). The truth is much more unsavoury: Hussain carried out a sustained and extremely savage attack on a defenceless person, one who had been captured and could have easily been held for the police – something that an onlooker tried to request the men did. Instead they nearly killed him by stamping on his head, kicking, punching and hitting him with an iron bar and a cricket bat.
I would go to any length to protect my loved ones, but this case simply isn’t about that situation – no matter how much Allison Pearson thinks it is.