I have been incarcerated within my home in Brighton. Sealed up. Locked in.
Yes, the dreaded swine flu had struck, taking down my two house-mates in a sudden rush of disease and pestilence that would shock biblical Egyptians. I still have not fallen sick, but it’s only a matter of time. We’re on the countdown now folks, and already I’m feeling piggish.
My one real link to the outside news is the press, and one story in particular I want to talk to you about.
Two brothers, Tokeer and Munir Hussain have been convicted of causing grievous bodily harm with intent. They did this by beating a man with a cricket bat so hard it broke into several pieces. Munir was given a 30 month sentence whilst his brother received a harsher 39 months. So far all seems straight forward, does it not?
But it isn’t. The ‘victim’, Walid Salim, was a member of a gang who broke into the Hussain home, tied up the family and threatened to kill them with a knife. Munir managed to break free and called upon his brother for help. When the help arrived the criminals fled, being pursued by the brothers. Salim was the only one caught and was then subjected to the ‘attack’.
Judge John Reddihough, commenting about the sentences, told the defendants, “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, or carry out revenge attacks upon a person who has offended them.”
Now, dear reader, please look inside and ask yourself, are these two brothers criminals? Have they really acted immorally? Or are they, as I believe, victims of a legal system that is designed to ‘keep the peace’ rather than punish the guilty.
The Judge went on to say, “It may be that some… will assert that Salim deserved what happened to him at the hands of you… However, if persons were permitted to …inflict their own instant and violent punishment on an apprehended offender rather than letting justice take its course, then the rule of law and our system of criminal justice, which are hallmarks of a civilised society, would collapse.”
What utter tosh. The hallmark of a civilised society is preventing the individual from being abused by the majority, which is exactly what is going on here. A person has a right to defend themselves against a violent criminal using whatever force they feel is necessary. It’s all very well and good, being a commentator after the fact, decreeing that these brothers should have simply sat on top of the potential murderer until the police turn up; but given the fact that several accomplices had fled and could potentially come back, meant that their actions needed to be decisive and robust.
Our legal system does not make us feel safe. It fails us. This case illustrates that we the public aren’t allowed to sort out our own affairs, we’re not allowed to defend our families or our homes. No, the state is the only one who can, but will it? Of course not.
Our politicians and judges are so devoid of moral philosophy that they no longer have any grasp of what is right and wrong, only what is legal and illegal, with no desire to amend these obvious legal follies. We need to stand up for the likes of the Hussain brothers, otherwise next time it could be you being threatened with a knife in the knowledge that the state will not save you, but punish you if you survive.