'Now we can go home' - brothers to return after one-punch attack
The Irish brothers at the centre of a one-punch attack in Sydney stood arm in arm as a court ruled there will be no jail time served.
There were emotional scenes as Antrim man Barry Lyttle was today given a 13-month suspended sentence for the attack on his brother Patrick in January. He pleaded guilty to recklessly causing grievous bodily harm to his younger brother.
Patrick put his arm around his brother in court in a huge show of support as Barry broke down while the evidence was read out.
After the sentence was handed down in the Downing Centre Local Court in Sydney, the brothers hugged and said it meant they could now return to Ireland.
Despite his injuries, which he is now making a good recovery from, Patrick (31) had asked the courts not to jail Barry (33).
The younger brother, who surprised doctors with his recovery, said he was happy to be able to return to Ireland now that the case was over.
"Honestly, it's the most important thing. This guy has been through an awful lot, not just myself. So we're delighted to be able to go home as a family now," he said.
Barry said that he was incredibly proud of his younger brother.
"We're just absolutely delighted that we're allowed to go home now. This saga has been put behind us. It's been four months now of absolute hell for the whole family and myself," said Barry.
"I'd like to thank the court for obviously taking its time and go through the deliberations of the case and come up with this judgement."
Downing Central Local Court magistrate Graeme Curran took 45 minutes to outline his ruling in Sydney. There was an audible gasp from a Lyttle family supporter when Justice Curran mentioned jail at one point.
However, he said that although he was considering an 18-month sentence, this had been reduced by a quarter as Barry Lyttle had admitted his guilt.
This in turn brought the potential sentence down to 13 months, which the magistrate said that he would suspend in full.
Barry was charged with grievous bodily harm after he punched his brother in the head during an argument outside a nightclub in Sydney's King's Cross district in the early hours of January 3.
Barry had travelled to Australia with his father Oliver for the new year to visit Patrick, who had emigrated some months earlier.
Oliver stayed in Australia as Patrick battled for his life and Barry faced the judicial system for assault.
Barry Lyttle told reporters afterwards that he was going to reclaim his passport from police, which he had to surrender as a condition of getting bail.
Patrick told his brother's sentence hearing on April 16 that the only way for him to heal fully was for his brother to be allowed to go home.
He told the court that, should his brother be allowed to go home, the pair intended to travel around Ireland together, speaking to young people about the devastating consequences of violence.
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