The Director of Public Prosecutions has failed in an attempt to have an appeal against the leniency of a sex offender's sentence heard before he is released from prison next month.

Anthony Lyons, a wealthy and successful businessman from Griffith Avenue in Dublin was jailed for six months for attacking and sexually assaulting a woman just over two years ago.

The judge also directed him to pay the victim €75,000.

The DPP had sought a priority hearing however the Court of Criminal Appeal refused the application because the lawyer Lyons wanted to represent him was not available.

Lyons, who owns an aircraft leasing company, originally denied sexually assaulting a woman when he arrested near his home on 3 October 2010.

Ten days later the 52-year-old went back to the gardaí and claimed he attacked the woman because he was on cholesterol medication, a defence which was rejected by the jury.

Mr Justice Desmond Hogan sentenced him in July to six years in prison but suspended five-and-half-years and ordered him to pay €75,000 to the victim.

It meant Lyons was to spend four-and-a-half-months in prison and is due for release in just over two weeks' time.

The Court of Criminal Appeal heard that the DPP was seeking a priority hearing and while Mr Justice Adrian Hardiman was prepared to set a date of 12 December for the appeal, Lyons objected because the lawyer who represented him at his criminal trial was not available.

Senior Counsel Patrick Gageby is involved in a murder trial which began in another court yesterday.

Mr Justice Hardiman said that ordinarily a person's choice of lawyer would not be a factor but it was in a case where the DPP was seeking a priority hearing.

He said it would be very distressing for Lyons if his choice of counsel was not involved in the appeal.

He said there are many very unfortunate cases where it is not possible to hear cases until after sentences have expired because of resource difficulties and in those cases the judiciary is powerless.

Mr Hardiman said if Mr Gageby were to become available then the DPP could reapply for a priority hearing.

The appeal is not now likely to be heard until the middle of next year.