CONVICTED sex offender and businessman Anthony Lyons will spend Christmas at home with his family after serving only four-and-a-half months of a six-year prison sentence.
Lyons is due to be released from Wheatfield prison today with remission for good behaviour behind bars.
The owner of an aircraft leasing company, Lyons, of Griffith Avenue, Dublin, was sentenced to six years last July for sexually assaulting a woman on October 3, 2010.
But Dublin Circuit Criminal Court judge, Desmond Hogan, suspended five-and-a-half years of his sentence after considering psychiatric and probation reports and testimonials.
The judge said Lyons had up to then been "of good character" and was "unlikely to re-offend".
He ordered compensation of €75,000 to be paid, not "with a view to being treated more favourably by the court" but to pay something back to the victim.
The Director of Public Prosecutions subsequently applied to the Court of Criminal Appeal to review the "unduly lenient" sentence.
The appeal was due to be heard on Tuesday, three days before Lyons was set for release.
But the court heard that Lyons' defence lawyer was not available on that date and the appeal was put back.
Lyons, a father of four, had pleaded not guilty to the sexual assault charge at the circuit court.
He admitted the attack, but claimed he was overcome with an "irresistible urge" due to the combination of alcohol, his cholesterol medicine, Rosuvastatin, and cough syrup.
The court heard how he attacked the woman as she walked along Griffith Avenue.
He came up behind her and said: "Are you going to get home safely?" He then rugby tackled her into the trees.
The woman cried for help, but Lyons told her to be quiet. He put his hand over her throat and mouth before sexually assaulting her.
The victim hit Lyons on the head with her mobile phone.
She managed to phone 999 during the attack and Lyons ran away when a passer-by shouted at him.
But Lyons left his umbrella behind and was only 100 metres from his home when the victim, who was in a garda car, identified him.
The judge said that the long abiding psychological trauma suffered by the victim was, perhaps, seriously greater than the physical injuries she sustained.
Lyons was the head of aviation company Santos Dumont before stepping aside after being charged.