A millionaire businessman jailed for attacking a career criminal who kidnapped his family and held them at knife-point was freed by the Court of Appeal today.
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Munir Hussain's 30-month sentence was reduced to a 'merciful' term of two years suspended by the Lord Chief Justice, Lord Judge, and two other judges at the Court of Appeal in London.
Munir's brother Tokeer Hussain, 35, had his 39-month jail term reduced to two years.
Munir Hussain and his brother Tokeer Hussain
Munir Hussain and his brother Tokeer Hussain
'Mercy': Father of three Munir Hussain and his brother Tokeer, pictured right, had their sentences overturned at the Court of Appeal today
Yesterday, the court rejected father-of-three Munir and Tokeer's appeals against their convictions.
The brothers, described as family men at the heart of the local community, were sentenced after being found guilty of causing grievous bodily harm with intent.
Neither man was present in court for the ruling.
The decision to free Munir was made by Lord Judge, Mrs Justice Swift and Mr Justice Sweeney. Lord Judge said the case was one of 'true exceptionality'.
A sentence of two years was in itself 'merciful', but he added: 'We have come to the conclusion that we have ample justification for ordering that it should be suspended.'
Lord Judge said the 'call for mercy' had been intense and the court had concluded that it 'must be answered' to the extent of reducing both sentences.
Millionaire Munir was jailed in December last year for attacking a burglar who held his family hostage at knifepoint while masked robbers threatened to kill them.
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Crime scene: Munir had returned to his home in Desborough Road, High Wycombe, with his family when they were ambushed by three masked men
His case provoked a public outcry when he and Tokeer - who live near each other in High Wycombe, Buckinghamshire - were jailed for injuring career criminal Walid Salem, while the convicted burglar walked free.
Munir and his wife and children returned from their local mosque during Ramadan to find three intruders wearing balaclavas in their home.
He feared for their lives as their hands were tied behind their backs and they were forced to crawl from room to room.
Munir, a race relations campaigner and chairman of the Asian Business Council, made his escape after throwing a coffee table and then enlisted the help of Tokeer in chasing the offenders down the street in High Wycombe, bringing one of them to the ground.
What followed was described at Reading Crown Court as self-defence that went too far, leaving intruder Walid Salem, 57, with a permanent brain injury after he was struck with a cricket bat so hard that it broke into three pieces.
Walid Salem, who avoided jail after breaking into Munir Hussain's home
Prosecutors said the brothers had used unnecessary force and violence in the attack.
At the sentencing last month the trial judge said: '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, people cannot take the law into their own hands, or carry out revenge attacks upon a person who has offended them.'
Salem was the only intruder caught after the incident on September 3, 2008, but his injuries meant he was not fit to plead after being charged with false imprisonment.
He was given a two-year supervision order. However, in December, The Mail revealed how Salem had a list of 50 convictions dating back to 1980.
Munir and Tokeer's barristers had argued that the sentences should be reduced in the 'exceptional circumstances' of the case.
Munir's lawyer had told the Court of Appeal that he should be freed at once.
'It is a waste of a good man for him to be in prison for a further day,' Michael Wolkind QC said.
'I ask the court to reflect overwhelming public opinion in this case, not that Salem deserved what he got but that Munir does not deserve the sentence he was given.
'The court cannot deter a home owner from responding in agony and despair.'
Mr Wolkind said Munir had believed the men would kill his family, adding: 'The provocation was truly exceptional.'
He said the terrifying ordeal had left his client suffering from post-traumatic stress, and his wife suffered a mini-stroke during the trial.
The family has been warned by police that they could be targeted again.
He previously told the court: 'Every single day Munir Hussain relives what happened in his home, the one place where a decent good family man should feel safe in the world.
'Every single day he is astounded how a peace-loving non-aggressive man ever found himself in further physical confrontation outside his home.'
Gibson Grenfell QC, for Tokeer, said the brothers were not vigilantes, adding: 'Within these circumstances one can use lawful force in order to apprehend an attacker.'
The case sparked public debate about a homeowner's right to protect his family.
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