Thursday, 2 August 2012

'For Evil to Triumph...'

It is said that Lady Justice is blind, recent discussions have led me to believe that perhaps she is deaf too and seemingly defended in her shortcomings.

On the 3rd of October 2010, Anthony Lyons viciously, sexually assaulted a young woman on her way home on Griffith Avenue. He approached her from behind asked her 'Are you going to get home safely' and proceeded to 'rugby tackle' her to the ground and drag her into the bushes where he pinned her down and sexually assaulted her. During his grievous attack, Mr Lyons attempted to rape his victim but was interrupted by passers by and fled the scene.

Late last week, Mr Lyons' case came to court, he freely admitted to attacking the young woman with the intention to rape her but blamed his 'uncontrollable urges' on a concoction of cough syrup, alcohol and cholesterol medication (a defence that was refuted by the jury).

Upon hearing that the jury found Mr Lyons guilty of this attack and describing the offence as 'on the upper severity of the scale', Mr Justice Desmond Hogan, instead of the 10 year sentencing applicable, handed down a sentence of 6 years. To further compound the injustice, he then suspended 5 and half years of that sentence, instead ordering the multi millionaire business man to pay compensation in the amount of €75,000 and serve only 6 months behind bars. That's one twentieth the applicable sentence with a simple signature. This is both unduly lenient and abhorrent, in my opinion. Mr Lyons has effectively bought his way out of prison time.

Justifiably, this judgement and sentencing have caused outrage with the Irish public, for the most part. The victim's grandmother has commented that 'Money Talks' and I couldn't agree with her more.

There are many, many issues I have with this judgement. The Dublin Rape Crisis Centre have fought tirelessly to advocate on behalf of sexually assaulted men and women since 1979, this 'Money in lieu of custodial time' has done untold, perhaps irrevocable damage to their efforts to see justice for victims of serious sexual assault in this country. It reiterates the notion that the affluent members of our society are basically given carte blanche to act as they see fit, regardless of the life altering effects on others, once they have their chequebook to hand.

While commenting, to that effect and stating that I had written to Alan Shatter (Our Minister for Justice) (Who's email is by the way) about my concerns and disgust at the handling of this case on yesterday's Blather on, I was met with a strange (to me) reaction. Another commenter is of the opinion that voicing outrage at such injustices is 'A waste of a stamp', 'I’m not saying that you can’t speak up about it, it’s just that it’s useless writing off to the Minister apout it.' I couldn't disagree more and so 
my question(s) is this...

Should we not speak up when something so morally corrupt is happening in front of our eyes? Is it futile to voice outrage at the injustice and the seeming impunity with which violent crimes are committed against Irish women?

I understand that this is an emotive subject and pretty far removed from the usual lipstick/movie madness around these parts but I would truly like to hear your opinion. Have a read of the Blather (linked above) and do please let me know your thoughts, I'd really appreciate it. 

PS. I've added a poll in the sidebar, 
if you don't want to comment
but do want your opinion heard
do please click on your choice. 

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