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No judgement yet in Anthony Lyons sentence appeal for Griffith Avenue sexual assault

The Dublin businessman had argued that a combination of cholesterol medicine and alcohol had cause the sex attack.

Image: Sam Boal/Photocall Ireland

A DUBLIN COURT reserved judgement on a sentence appeal by the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions in its case against businessman Anthony Lyons who has been found guilty of a sexual assault.

A three-judge panel in the Court of Criminal Appeal today heard from both sides following a ruling that the initial sentence handed down for the 2010 attack on Griffth Avenue in Dublin was unduly lenient.

The aviation broker had already been found guilty of the offence and sentenced to six years. However, the presiding judge suspended five-and-a-half years of the term and ordered Lyons to pay the 27-year-old victim €75,000 in compensation.

Last November, the Director of Public Prosecutions was successful in its appeal against the leniency of the sentence. The Court of Criminal Appeal cited an “error in principle” in its ruling.

During today’s hearing, the DPP said it did not take issue with the sentence but with “the undue weight the judge put on mitigating factors” such as compensation and remorse.

Gravity of offence

Senior Counsel Caroline Biggs, representing the DPP told the court the it is their submission that the trial judge who sentenced Lyons “lost sight of the gravity of the offence and place undue weight” on the compensations aspect of the case.

Justice John Murray, who is leading the Court of Criminal Appeal, said that the trial judge had a “duty” to consider compensation in the case, “not as a measurement – by any means – but in addition, to provide something to the victim”.

Judge Murray said that sentencing should be a deterrent for the accused of a crime and also for society. He said:

Women should be able to walk the streets of Dublin.

Senior Counsel for Lyons, Patrick Gageby disagreed that the sentencing was unduly lenient stating that the conviction was “public condemnation”.

He said that the crime was a “unique” piece of criminal activity taking place in Lyons “51st year” by a man who was, as he described, “of completely good character and substance”.

Gageby said that many of his friends and families made statements to this effect, he said, adding that Lyons has no previous convictions.

Lenient

Gageby acknowledged that the 6 month custodial term was lenient, but said the conviction, having to notify the police when he is travelling, being on the sexual offenders register, as well as the “enormous loss of reputation” has impacted on Lyons.

Gageby said he would make the same statement had the accused been an unemployed man.

“The consequence of sentencing has had a big affect on the claimant,” Gageby said.

He added that the media coverage of the trial had a profound impact on Lyons and his family and that he could no longer work in the country.

“My client will never be forgotten. He will always be notorious,” said Gageby.

Outlining “the totality of hardship” Gageby cited incidents of harassment of his client and family, stating that his business had suffered and that he had been asked to leave his golf club.

He said the “sustained coverage” had forced him to move to the UK where he now faces a “lifetime of supervision” by the British police, he said.

Going through a large portfolio of media articles, the defense said Lyons was branded a “sex beast” and put on the front pages with the same cohort as convicted rapist Larry Murphy.

Judge Murray said this did much to misrepresent what Lyons was convicted for, which was sexual assault which included digital penetration of his victim.

However, he did say that the offence committed against the victim was “the ultimate attack on human dignity”.

The Court of Criminal Appeal reserved its judgment to a later date.

During the initial trial, Lyons admitted to the attack but argued that a combination medication and alcohol were causal factors.

Read: Appeal court finds Anthony Lyons sentence too lenient >

Read: ‘Unusual sentence’ for sex offender raises doubts about system’s fairness >

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