Businessman Freed From Jail A businessman jailed for attacking an armed burglar who held him and his family hostage was yesterday freed after the Lord Chief Justice said he must be shown "mercy". By Tom Whitehead, John Bingham and Lucy Cockcroft Published: 6:41PM GMT 20 Jan 2010 Munir Hussain had his 30-month term slashed to a 12-month suspended sentence because he had acted under "extreme provocation" when he hit intruder Walid Salem with a cricket bat, Lord Judge ruled. He said the case was not about the right of householders to defend their families and homes but the ruling effectively means anyone in the same position could expect mercy in the courts. On returning home, Hussain said: "Thank you all, all the media, for supporting us while we have been away. That support has been very comforting. I'm very happy but obviously my brother is still there (in jail)." His elder brother Qadeer Hussain said: "His wife Shaheen is a lot more comfortable now." The family, many of whom were gathered at the small detatched house, would be enjoying an eveing meal to celebrate Munir's freedom, he added. Hussain told a fellow prisoner in Bullington prison, about his attack on Salem: "If you were in my position, what would you have done? You would have done the same as me'." Aqdus Basharad, 22, from Slough, said: "He was very upset to be in prison, he shouldn't have been there." Hussain, 53, along with his brother Tokeer, 35, who also had his sentence substantially reduced, had been jailed after chasing Salem down the street and inflicting an attack so serious that he was left with brain damage. Salem, who the Court of Appeal heard has more than 50 previous convictions, was part of a knife-wielding group of masked men who had threatened Hussain, his wife and children, who they had tied up at the family home. But in a significant Court of Appeal judgment, Lord Judge said the case was one of "true exceptionality" and the court "must address and balance the ancient principles of justice and mercy", despite accepting the men had been acting in "revenge". He also stressed that Hussain was a peaceful man who had acted "totally out of character, in hot blood". It follows a public outcry over the case and comes at a time of intense focus on the treatment of homeowners and 'have-a-go heroes' who confront criminals, with the Conservatives this week pledging better protection in the law. Met Commissioner Sir Paul Stephenson, the country's most senior police officer, yesterday said people who injure others while defending their families or homes should be told earlier that they will not face prosecution. The Hussain brothers, described as family men at the heart of the local community, were jailed in December after being found guilty at Reading Crown Court of causing grievous bodily harm with intent to Salem. Munir Hussain had returned from their local mosque during Ramadan in September 2008 to find intruders wearing balaclavas in their home, in High Wycombe, Buckinghamshire. He feared for their lives as their hands were tied behind their backs and they were forced to crawl from room to room. The businessman made his escape after throwing a coffee table and, enlisting the help of Tokeer, chased Salem down the road before hitting him with a cricket bat so hard that it broke into three pieces. His injuries included a fractured skull, jaw and ribs. Lord Judge, sitting with Mrs Justice Swift and Mr Justice Sweeney, said: "The plain, simple reality is that Munir Hussain was acting under the continuing influence of extreme provocation. "Involvement in this serious violence can only be understood as a response to the dreadful and terrifying ordeal and the emotional anguish which he had undergone." His family had effectively been kidnapped in their own home. "He feared for their lives and the honour of his wife and daughter," he said. He insisted such violence was not lawful and would normally require "very long" sentences but added that this was "not an ordinary or normal case or one that falls within the overwhelming majority of cases, not least because of the character of the two appellants". "It is rare to see men of the quality of the two appellants in court for offences of serious violence," he said, highlighting the fact Munir was a hard-working family man, who makes a "positive contribution to the general community". The "call for mercy" on their behalf had been intense and the court had concluded that it "must be answered". But he added: "This is not, and should not be seen as, a case about the level of violence which a householder may lawfully and justifiably use on a burglar. "It is also clear that the violence to which Salem was subjected was not designed to ensure that he was detained and somehow kept pending the arrival of the police to be handed to them. "So far as both these appellants was concerned the purpose of their violence was revenge - to teach at least one of the burglars a lesson... such violence is not lawful and no one at the trial suggested that it was." The judges had previously rejected a bid for appeal against conviction but Lord Judge said there was "ample justification" to reduce Munir's sentence from 30 months to 12 months, suspended for two years, with a two year supervision requirement. Tokeer's sentence was reduced from 39 months to two years meaning he could be released in around five months. Munir's son, Awais, 22, said he was "extremely grateful" to the court for releasing his father, describing the decision as a "big relief" but added: "We respect the law and always will do, but in this case it did not do us justice." The family's legal spokesman, Razi Shah, said Hussain had not recovered from his ordeal and every day relived the terror of being imprisoned in his own house. He said: "You must ask yourself what would you do and all the fathers should ask what would they do."