Barry Lyttle (centre) arrives at court with his lawyer Chris Watson (left) and brother Patrick (right). Photo: Daniel MunozAn Irish tourist who put his brother into a coma with a single punch outside a Kings Cross nightclub could be sent to jail, despite his brother’s emotional plea for leniency.
With his older brother Barry Lyttle facing jail over the attack, a recovering Patrick Lyttle told a sentencing hearing in the Downing Centre Local Court on Thursday that the only way for him to heal fully was for his brother to be allowed to go home.
“When my family is healed I will be healed,” Patrick Lyttle told the court during an emotional victim impact statement.
“Victims often want to see deterrence. But everyone can see how much my brother has suffered.”
Barry Lyttle broke down before Magistrate Graeme Curran when the prosecutor in the case said he believed a full-time jail term was “the only appropriate sentence” for the 33-year-old’s attack in January on his younger brother.
“… A sentence of full-time custody would provide certainty and send a clear message to the community in relation to these types of offences which are prevalent, serious and require the denunciation of this court,” prosecutor Alex Poulos said.
CCTV footage of the incident, played in court for the first time, showed the two brothers arguing and jostling with each other as they left Hugo’s nightclub on Bayswater Road about 3am on January 3.
Patrick Lyttle, 31, is then seen to angrily shove his older brother who responds with a single, heavy punch to the younger man’s head, sending him falling backwards to the ground.
Barry Lyttle, in obvious distress, immediately rushes over to assist his sibling.
Patrick Lyttle spent a week in a coma at St Vincent’s Hospital after the punch, before making a remarkably rapid recovery that has apparently left him with few lasting effects.
He told the court that, should his brother be allowed to go home, the pair intended to travel around Ireland together, speaking to young people about the devastating consequences of violence.
Barry Lyttle’s barrister, Chris Watson, asked Magistrate Curran to take this “restorative justice” work into account when considering an appropriate sentence for his client as well as the fact that he had pleaded guilty to recklessly causing grievous bodily harm earlier on Thursday.
He said the punch was a “very emotional, spur of the moment act” that immediately followed being aggressively pushed, and that Barry Lyttle had subsequently shown “an extreme level of contrition and remorse”.
“…this is one of the very rarest sentences where your honour might find that a sentence other than full-time custody is appropriate,” Mr Watson said.
Magistrate Curran said that while he believed restorative justice programs were beneficial, he could not allow Barry Lyttle to undertake such work as an alternative to being formally sentenced.
He said that, because Mr Lyttle was not an Australian citizen, many of the alternatives to full-time custody such as home detention and community service could not be applied.
“When it’s all boiled down there is only one alternative to full-time custody and that is a suspended sentence,” Mr Curran said.
“Bearing in mind the subjective matters, which are quite compelling in this case, there may well be an argument that the prison term should be suspended,” he continued.
However, the magistrate acknowledged that usually a suspended sentence was accompanied by a good behaviour bond and that such a bond would be virtually impossible to police in Mr Lyttle’s case because he would be living in Ireland.
The matter will return to court on April 24 for sentence.
The original release of this article first appeared on the website of Wuxi Plastic Surgery Hospital.