Monday 20 November 2017

Victim's family hug after sex attacker Lyons told he's going back to jail

Anthony Lyons pictured leaving court. Niall Carson/pa
Anthony Lyons pictured leaving court. Niall Carson/pa

THE victim of wealthy sex attacker Anthony Lyons is "relieved" that he faces another jail term after a court ruled a six-month prison sentence was too lenient.

Lyons's victim was not in court as the three judges upheld an appeal by the Director of Public Prosecution (DPP) against the length of the sentence.

But the woman's family and friends hugged when the Court of Criminal Appeal delivered the ruling.

Lyons, who was accompanied by family members and appeared before the court wearing a blue suit, blue shirt and dark red tie, made little reaction to the judgment.

Mr Justice John L Murray said that given the gravity of the offence, the mitigating factors could not justify the custodial part of the sentence.

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

But the judge sparked outrage when he controversially suspended five-and-a-half years of the jail term and ordered him to pay his victim €75,000 in compensation.

Lyons 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 yesterday, the case will be listed again next week when submissions will be made on an appropriate jail term.

While the family of the woman have said they do not wish to comment until the final outcome is announced next week, a close relative said: "We can see the relief on the face of the innocent young woman whose life changed the night Lyons attacked her." The relative added: "This time last year Lyons was looking forward to getting out of prison in time for Christmas.

"But we wonder what he is thinking about now as Christmas 2013 comes closer."

The former aviation boss, from Griffith Avenue in Dublin, was convicted by a jury last year after pleading not guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to the sexual assault. Lyons admitted the attack – in which the victim was rugby tackled to the ground and violently physically and sexually assaulted.

But he claimed he was overcome with an "irresistible urge" due to a combination of alcohol, cholesterol medicine and cough syrup.

Defence barrister Patrick Gageby SC said Lyons was the most unlikely person to have committed an offence such as this.

"He was a man who had never been in trouble of any kind," he added."He was a man who was quite able to ask of gardai was there any suggestion of suspicion against him in relation to any other matter.

"He is a man who appears to have committed this criminal offence just touching on his 50th year: happily married, hard working and incredibly well thought of by all who knew him.

"It was an unusual first offence and for sure his last offence."

Mr Justice Murray told the barrister it had been a most disturbing offence for the victim.

"That it was his first offence or not did not make any difference to her in the end," he added.

Mr Gageby maintained Lyons could not submit a defence of involuntary intoxication without denying the charge, but claimed his client had offered to accept the victim's statement as evidence in court, sparing her taking the witness stand.

But counsel for the DPP, Caroline Biggs SC, told the appeal court the six-month custodial sentence did not reflect the gravity of the offence, the impact on the victim, or the impact on society.

By Conor Feehan and Sarah Stack

Irish Independent

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