Wednesday 26 October 2016

Judge orders release of Hickey from prison over 'critical health'

Cathal McMahon in Rio de Janeiro

Published 30/08/2016 | 02:30

Pat Hickey. Photo: Yui Mok/PA Wire
Pat Hickey. Photo: Yui Mok/PA Wire

A judge has ordered Pat Hickey's release from prison citing the 71-year-old's "critical health" and stating there were no grounds for him to be imprisoned.

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Mr Hickey was scheduled to be released from Bangu Prison last night and is expected to be placed under house arrest.

In court documents, seen by the Irish Independent, a judge said there is no evidence against him aside from "generic accusations or presumptions".

Judge Fernando Antonio de Almeida said his release will not present any risk to public order or to penal law being applied.

Documents lodged to the court claimed that his health state is a reason to release him and to put him under house arrest.

It was claimed that Mr Hickey is in a state of "critical health".

Judge de Almeida said that preventive imprisonment can only be applied when the maximum sentence for a crime exceeds four years.

"Considering all this I revoke the preventive prison order and now he has cautionary measures replacing his detention," Justice de Almeida wrote.

The order also stated that Mr Hickey cannot leave the country and his passports remain with the relevant authority.

Mr Hickey temporarily stood down as Olympic Council of Ireland (OCI) president after his arrest at the Windsor Marapendi on August 17.

He has been accused under Brazilian law of ticket touting, running a cartel and illicit marketing.

Read more: Lawyer for Kevin Mallon tells Rio court 'no crime was committed'

Brazilian police claimed that he facilitated the transfer of Olympics tickets to UK-based THG via the OCI's Authorised Ticket Reseller (ATR) Pro 10.

THG were restricted from selling tickets to the Games.

After spending a night in the Hospital Samaritano Mr Hickey was moved to Gericino Prison - known locally as Bangu - in North West Rio. He was held in preventive custody for 10 nights in the prison.

His solicitor argued that during his incarceration he became unwell and lost his appetite.

Solicitor Anne Marie James claimed Mr Hickey had asked for mosquito spray over concerns about diseases like malaria and Zika in prison.

Earlier, Mr Hickey's Irish based solicitor Ms James argued that he should be released immediately.

"Whether you like the man or not, the Department of Foreign Affairs have to represent him," she told Newstalk's Pat Kenny Show.

"Ticket touting is not murder," she added.

The family are due to meet with Minister for Foreign Affairs Charlie Flanagan tomorrow to call in the Brazilian Ambassador to Ireland "and let them know we're watching", she said. "Who else is going to stand up for Irish citizens abroad?" she asked.

The solicitor added that Brazilian police had 'flagrantly abused' the concept of the presumption of innocence.

Irish Independent

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