Monday 20 November 2017

Lyons signs as sex offender in UK after starting new life

Anthony Lyons arriving at the Court of Criminal Appeal in Dublin
Anthony Lyons arriving at the Court of Criminal Appeal in Dublin
Jerome Reilly

Jerome Reilly

CONVICTED sex attacker Anthony Lyons had to leave Ireland for a new life in the UK, where he was immediately placed on Britain's Sex Offenders' Register, the Court of Criminal Appeal has been told.

He is now among 24,000 registered sex offenders in England and Wales. Among the conditions attached to his British residency is that he has to notify the authorities if he plans to spend more than 12 hours at a household where under-18s are present.

The three-judge court was also told that since his conviction the businessman's family had been subjected to a long-term campaign of harassment by one individual, who "beset" the family home and followed Lyons' daughter when she travelled by bus.

The campaign against the family was also joined by a number of taxi drivers who patrolled the area around the family home "on a constant basis", Mr Patrick Gageby SC, for the defendant, told the court.

There was also a sustained "punitive" onslaught in the media against Lyons and his family, Mr Gageby submitted.

But Caroline Biggs SC, for the Director of Public Prosecutions, said it was accepted that adverse media coverage could be taken as mitigation but added that convicted people may be held up for criticism by the press.

She said the DPP viewed the assault committed by Mr Lyons as being at the higher end of the scale for such offences and pointed to violence used as an "aggravating factor" when deciding sentencing.

Ms Biggs said the court must be cognisant of the aggravating factors relating to the sexual assault and the impact on the victim. She cited the "rugby tackle" by Lyons on his victim, the digital penetration and the pulling down of the victim's dress as aggravating factors in the violent assault.

The victim was also subjected to groping of her buttocks by Lyons and an attempt was made to grab the mobile phone from the victim's hand during the attack to stop her calling for help.

CRYING

Counsel said the defendant had also put his hand over her throat and placed his hand over her mouth to stop her crying out during the assault, which happened at 2.30am on an empty street.

Yesterday's hearing followed a decision earlier this month when the three judges of the court upheld an appeal by the DPP against the length of the sentence that was originally handed down in the case.

Lyons was sentenced to six years by Judge Desmond Hogan in July 2012 for attacking the woman, then aged 27, in the early hours of October 3, 2010.

But there was public outrage when the presiding judge suspended five-and-a-half years of the jail term and ordered Lyons to pay his victim €75,000 in compensation. This meant that the defendant served just six months.

Lyons, an aviation broker, from Griffith Avenue in Dublin, was released from prison in December 2012 after serving his time, but the case was given a priority listing by the Court of Criminal Appeal last June.

Following the Court of Criminal Appeal ruling earlier this month that the sentence was too lenient, the case was listed again for yesterday when submissions were made on an appropriate jail term.

During the hearing, the three appeal court judges heard that the compensation of €75,000 was still lodged in the client account of the victim's solicitor because the victim had "elected" not to draw down the money.

The court heard statements from three of the businessman's children in which they alleged that they had been "hounded" by the press.

Lyons has signed the sex offenders' register in the UK and has a card to track his movements since his release almost a year ago.

Dressed in a black coat, dark suit, blue shirt and burgundy tie, he was supported by several family members during the hearing. His victim's family sat at the back of the courtroom for the 90-minute hearing.

After hearing submissions the court reserved its judgement to a later date.

Irish Independent

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