Sunday 22 October 2017

Businessman jailed for sexual assault could be freed before appeal on leniency of his sentence is heard

Anthony Lyons
Anthony Lyons

Nicola Donnelly

BUSINESSMAN Anthony Lyons, who was convicted earlier in the year of sexual assault, may be released from prison before the hearing on the leniency of the sentence imposed has been heard.

The DPP applied for a priority hearing date at the Court of Criminal Appeal yesterday but today Mr Justice Aidan Hardiman heard from defence barrister Lorcan Steins that defence senior counsel Patrick Gageby has commenced a murder trial and may not be available on December 12 – the date recommended by the court.

Senior counsel for the State Kerida Naidoo SC told the court submissions have been filed and a transcript of the trial can be available for the defence by Friday.

He said the State's application will take a maximum of half an hour.

Mr Lorcan Steins said the defence application would take a maximum of two hours.

“This is a case in which it was a defence of involuntary intoxication which was not accepted by the jury,” said Mr Steins. “There is also a voluntary intoxication aspect and there is significant medical evidence which is highly relevant,” he added.

Mr Lyons, of Griffith Avenue, Dublin, is due to be released from prison mid-December after he was jailed for six months at the end of July for attacking and sexually assaulting a woman on Griffith Avenue over two years ago.

Lyons, who owns an aircraft leasing company, originally denied attacking the woman when he was arrested near the scene on October 3, 2010.

However, ten days later the 52-year-old father of four went back to the gardaí and claimed he attacked the woman because he was on cholesterol medication, a defence that was rejected by the jury.

Mr Justice Desmond Hogan sentenced him to six years in prison but suspended five-and-a-half years and ordered him to pay €75,000 to the victim.

Mr Justice Hardiman said it seems undesirable to leave an uncertainly around the appeal hearing.

“The State moved yesterday to give priority to its application and no previous application has been made. The court is willing to see in that context, if December 12th is free,” he said. He also said there are “very unfortunate cases to facilitate after sentencing has been complete due to resource difficulties”.

He noted that the unavailability of counsel is not a ground to adjourn the case. He noted that Mr Naidoo said “something may happen” that Mr Gageby may be available on December 12.

Mr Justice Hardiman said he is prepared to fix a date but would not on the context of the unavailability of defence senior counsel but gave both parties liberty to re-apply for a priority hearing.

“If either party thinks circumstances may change they have liberty to re-apply,” he said.

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