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Saturday 17 March 2018

Wealthy broker is jailed for six months over sex attack

Luke Byrne and Conor Gallagher

THE family of a sexual assault victim is horrified at the leniency of a sentence handed down to the wealthy aviation broker found guilty of the attack.

Businessman Anthony Lyons (51) was yesterday sentenced to six years for his vicious attack on a 27-year-old woman in October 2010 -- however, he'll serve just six months in prison.

Lyons was called a "man of means" by Judge Desmond Hogan, who ordered him to pay his victim €75,000 in compensation and suspended five-and-a-half years of the sentence.

Speaking briefly to journalists outside the court yesterday, a family member of the victim reacted angrily to the sentence and said it was a disgrace.

Later, her aunt Susan said in a radio interview that the victim did not want the money and that the family were disappointed by the sentence.

The Dublin Rape Crisis Centre has raised questions over the fine and the decision to suspend all but six months of the prison term.

In a statement, Ellen O'Malley-Dunlop, chief executive of the centre, said it appeared a man with money was buying his way out of a custodial sentence.

She said it brought into question the fairness of the criminal justice system "as such an option is not available to a person with no money".

A spokesman for Justice Minister Alan Shatter said that it would not be appropriate for the minister to comment on the case last night.

Lyons, from Griffith Avenue, Dublin, had pleaded not guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to the sexual assault of the woman in the early hours of October 3, 2010.

Lyons admitted the attack but claimed he was overcome with an "irresistible urge" due to the combination of alcohol, cholesterol medicine and cough syrup.

Judge Hogan accepted that Lyons had not contested the facts of the woman's allegation and his legal team had told the judge that they did not require the victim to give evidence.

However, she decided to take the stand to tell her story.

The jury rejected Lyons's claim that the effects of a combination of his recently prescribed medicine with alcohol made him attack the woman.

The judge said he had "no doubt" that it was a serious offence, which had involved "violence of a seriously frightening nature".


"He had rugby-tackled this young lady to the ground in a dark area," he said.

He commented that the effects of what happened to her would continue "beyond any sentence I can impose".

"The long-abiding psychological trauma suffered by her is perhaps seriously greater than the physical injuries she sustained," the judge commented.

"There is little doubt that a very serious wrong has been done on her by a person who has expressed remorse, has been hitherto of good character, is well regarded and is unlikely to reoffend," he added.

The judge said that he considered a psychiatric report, a probation report and "a myriad testimonials" that had been prepared for the sentence hearing.

Meanwhile, AstraZeneca, the company behind the Crestor Rosuvastatin cholesterol medicine mentioned in the trial, has welcomed the verdict.

"All of our products undergo strict testing as to ensure they are both safe and effective for patients," a statement said.

"There is no evidence to suggest Crestor has the effect claimed by the defendant."

A spokesperson for the Director of Public Prosecutions would not comment on whether the sentence will be appealed.

Irish Independent

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