Anger as ‘cough syrup’ sex attacker is set free

The father of a woman sexually assaulted by businessman Anthony Lyons has condemned Mr Lyons’ release from prison yesterday, saying the man never showed any meaningful remorse for his crime.

Mr Lyons, a wealthy aviation broker from Griffith Avenue in Co Dublin, was initially jailed for just six months for sexually assaulting a woman in October 2010.

He admitted the attack but blamed a combination of alcohol, cough syrup, and cholesterol medication.

Following a successful appeal by the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP), Mr Lyons was given an additional 18-month jail term.

The 53-year-old was released from Arbour Hill Prison just after 8.30am yesterday. He was released a day early because the Prison Service does not usually release inmates on weekends.

The father of his victim said he hopes Mr Lyons leaves the country and never returns.

“We live fairly close to him so I hope the rumours are right that he is leaving and he doesn’t come back,” he said, speaking on Newstalk’s The Pat Kenny Show.

“I wouldn’t walk on the same side of the street as the man.”

The distraught father said Mr Lyons has never showed real remorse for what he did.

“The word sorry was used just once by the legal team in court. He never had to take the stand, he never had to speak,” he said.

“He has never shown any remorse as far as I’m concerned. You can’t ask your legal team to say sorry for you and you’re standing there pleading not guilty. It doesn’t make sense.”

The father praised his daughter for being “brave enough” to take the stand, and said Mr Lyons’ not guilty plea put “an awful lot of strain” on his family.

“She wanted people to know exactly what happened,” he said. “She didn’t want a bit of paper being handed up to the judge and have that taken in evidence. She wanted people to know what happened on the night. And she was very brave and she’s admired for doing it.”

Her father said he has “lost all faith” in the courts system as a result of the case and called for minimum sentencing.

“For a judge just to turn around and say it warrants a 10-year sentence because it was a serious attack, I’m going to sentence you to six years and I’m going to suspend five and a half,” he said. “And it really happened that quick. I can’t remember leaving the court. I was in total shock.

“I think what’s wrong with the system is there’s no consistency in sentencing of violent crime and I think it has to be overhauled. It has to be minimum sentences so it’s consistent.”

The father said he has met with other women going through the courts system, also dealing with sex assault prosecutions.

“It’s only when you go into it in depth and you realise how often it happens that it’s actually mind-boggling,” he said. “It’s out of hand actually. And the amount of girls that won’t go to court is huge. They’re afraid to go to court, they might be afraid of the attacker, they might be afraid of the media or, the thing I found, is that the assailants will walk and justice won’t be served.”


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