herald

Tuesday 24 October 2017

Sex attacker Lyons back behind bars for 18 months

Anthony Lyons. Photo: Courtpix
Anthony Lyons. Photo: Courtpix

A BUSINESSMAN who was convicted of sexually assaulting a woman on a Dublin street has been sent back to jail for another 18 months.

Anthony Lyons has been jailed after an appeal court found his original sentence was too lenient.

Lyons (53), a married father, had a new two-year prison term handed down today after the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) won an appeal against the undue leniency of a six-month sentence he had previously received for the 2010 attack.

Mr Justice John Murray told the Court of Criminal Appeal (CCA) the trial judge Desmond Hogan had "erred in principle" in attaching too much weight to the mitigating factors put forward when Lyons was sentenced at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court.

That sentence was quashed and the three-judge CCA imposed a new prison term that is effectively four times longer.

Lyons was sentenced to six years in prison with four years suspended and the six months already served taken into account.

As a result, he must now serve a 16-month prison term.

He sat silently with his head bowed as Mr Justice Murray delivered the judgement this morning.

The aviation boss has already agreed to pay nearly €200,000 compensation to the woman.

Following the court's initial decision, the victim's family said they had been "devastated" by the attack and would be supporting a petition to the Government for tougher jail terms for violent crime.

Lyons, from Griffith Avenue, was originally 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 controversially suspended five and a half years of the jail term and ordered him to pay his victim €75,000 in compensation.

Pleading not guilty, Lyons admitted the attack - in which the victim was rugby tackled to the ground and violently physically and sexually assaulted - but claimed he was overcome with an "irresistible urge" due to a combination of alcohol, cholesterol medicine and cough syrup.

Appealing the decision, the DPP argued that a decision by trial Judge Desmond Hogan to suspend five and a half years did not reflect the gravity of the sexual assault committed by Lyons which included digital penetration of his victim.

"Having taken into account the gravity of the offence, the impact on the victim and all the relevant mitigating factors, the court concludes that the respondent should be returned to prison immediately on foot of a sentence which is four times that which was effectively imposed by the court of trial," Mr Justice Murray said today.

Lyons, who was released from prison in December 2012, now lives in the UK and "has been prevented from working in this country" because of adverse publicity, the court heard during the appeal.

"My client can never be forgotten, he will always be notorious," his barrister Patrick Gageby SC said.

The DPP argued that the trial judge who sentenced Mr Lyons "in effect lost sight" of the gravity of the offence and placed "undue weight" on the compentsation aspect of the case.

hnews@herald.ie

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