Family 'horrified' when judge suspended 5½ years of sentence


REACTION:AN AUNT of the 27-year-old woman sexually assaulted by Anthony Lyons said yesterday that the family was “horrified” that 5½ years of his six-year sentence had been suspended.

“The system is just totally wrong . . . He was proven guilty, a unanimous decision of the jury,” the woman named as Susan told Joe Duffy on RTÉ Radio One’s Liveline programme yesterday.

The trial had also lasted eight days, “longer than expected”, because Lyons claimed he was under the influence of a combination of alcohol, the cholesterol medicine Rosuvastatin and cough syrup, she said. This had been rejected by the jury “absolutely, 100 per cent”, she pointed out.

Susan said the family and extended family, as well as the assaulted woman’s grandmother, had been in court and initially thought Lyons “was going to prison for six years”. It was towards the end of sentencing by Judge Desmond Hogan they realised that 5½ years of the sentence was being suspended “for some unknown reason, which nobody could believe”, she said.

“Really, when you think about it, he got 9½ years suspended,” she continued, referring to the fact that in such cases sentences can be up to 10 years.

When asked how her niece reacted to the €75,000 in compensation Judge Hogan ordered Lyons to pay her niece, Susan said “she doesn’t and never did” seek compensation.

It had been discussed during the case, she said, and rejected.

As to whether her niece would accept the compensation, she said: “Well, that’s for another day. She was so upset today in court.”

The attack was “something she’ll never get over . . . mentally it was so horrific . . . she has to sleep with the light on” and is “nervous about driving at night”.

Her niece was “a very brave girl” who taught young children about safety and not talking to strangers.

She was a “very strong individual . . . she actually cracked the case herself because she identified the man on the night. The gardaí were fantastic, I have to say, they really were.”

Asked about the possibility that the DPP might appeal against the sentence, Susan said the family was waiting – “let’s see how it goes”. They were “sitting back and digesting what had happened”. The sentence had been “very lenient”, she said, “but that’s the system”.