High-profile aviation broker Anthony Lyons will go back to prison after the Court of Criminal Appeal found the six-month custodial sentence imposed on him for a violent sexual assault was “unduly lenient”.
Mr Justice John Murray said the appeal court had decided to allow the appeal brought by the DPP against the sentence, of six years with five-and-a-half years suspended, imposed on Lyons by Judge Desmond Hogan in July 2012.
“The court has reached its decision on the grounds that the mitigating grounds tendered, taken globally, could not in principle justify the suspension of all but six months of the custodial sentence, having regard to the gravity of the offence,” said Mr Justice Murray.
He said the three-judge court would give its reasons for the judgment later.
Mr Justice Murray said the court had taken in to account that both parties would be making submissions on sentence, and would possibly hear the matter in the Four Courts next week.
Lyons, who appeared before the court, gave little reaction. Members of the victim’s family were also present in court.
The respondent, a 52-year-old from Griffith Ave in Dublin, had pleaded not guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to the sexual assault of the then 27-year-old victim.
In delivering sentence, Judge Hogan said he had “no doubt” that it was a serious offence which had involved “violence of a seriously frightening nature”.
The court heard the victim was walking home after a night out when she approached from behind by Lyons who “rugby tackled” her to the ground on a dark stretch of road.
The victim said she was fondled and digitally penetrated during the attack until a passer-by came to her aid, causing Lyons to flee.
Gardaí were alerted and Lyons was arrested nearby. He initially denied the offence but later admitted the attack, claiming he was overcome with an “irresistible urge” brought on by medication he had started taking the day before.
He was ordered by Judge Hogan to pay his victim €75,000 in compensation.
Lyons was released from prison in Dec 2012.
Counsel for the State, Ms Caroline Biggs SC, had told the court that the sentence imposed on Lyons was unduly lenient, amounted to an “error in principle”, and was a “substantial departure from the norm”.
Mr Justice John Murray, presiding, told Patrick Gageby SC, for Lyons, that the sentence imposed was “rather a light sentence” and the court would have to look at the mitigating factors to see if they justified that degree of leniency or whether it amounted to “undue leniency”.
He told Mr Gageby that whether it was Lyons’ first offence or not, “it didn’t make much difference to her in the end,” referring to the victim.
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