In my conflict resolution training sessions I regularly teach people how to talk themselves out of a situation or read someone before they become aggressive. Sometimes unfortunately a situation can just occur and you will come out fighting and that is what this blog post is about today.
There has been a very high profile case in the media this week which has raised the discussion about what is reasonable force in the self-defence legislation when someone breaks into your home.
A husband and father had his house invaded and his family were subjected to a horrible hostage situation by three men. Manir Hussain chased one of the burglars in question down the road and attacked him with a cricket bat. The burglar was prosecuted for his crimes but so was Mr Manir Hussain who was convicted of Grievous Bodily Harm and sentenced to two and a half years in prison.
The Daily Telegraph reports Mr Hussain as saying:
“The law does need perhaps to be revisited – it is very,very clear that it is ambiguous,”
“It is not clear as to where the householder stands and it may be interpreted in many different ways.’
“It could have been done a bit better, they need to look at the law, clarify the law.”
But he refused to criticise the British justice system itself, including Judge John Reddihough, the judge who passed his original sentence.
“From day one I said I was there (during the attack), even Judge Reddihough was extremely fair, I have never criticised him,” he said.
I think you will agree this is a shocking story and I think we can all sympathise with Mr Hussain for trying to protect his family. The truth is in a violent situation it can change a quiet law abiding individual into an aggressive and violent person. If a person is forced over the edge of reason and the red mist descends – does that mean he is guilty of GBH? In the eyes of the law it does yes and we must abide by the law but we don’t have to agree with it.
The reason he was prosecuted for this offence is because it was treated as two separate incidents. The first offence was in the house when they held Mr Husain hostage but after the burglar in question had left the house this was now a separate incident. I know this doesn’t feel right but in the eyes of the law it is completely correct. In my opinion, I think the law should be looked at again because it is hugely ambiguous and the home owner should be protected. The problem with the law is that if Mr Hussain had hit the burglar over the head inside the house he probably wouldn’t have gone to jail in the first place because it could have been seen as one incident.
In the United States a man can use any force he wishes if someone breaks into his house. Is this wrong or right what do you think?