Friday 30 September 2016

Mallon being freed 'paves the way for Hickey's release - possibly today'

Cathal McMahon in Rio de Janeiro

Published 29/08/2016 | 02:30

Kevin Mallon leaving Bangu prison with his lawyer. Photo: Ray Kennedy/RTÉ
Kevin Mallon leaving Bangu prison with his lawyer. Photo: Ray Kennedy/RTÉ

Pat Hickey could be released from prison in Rio de Janeiro as early as today, sources in Brazil have claimed.

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The 71-year-old, who temporarily stood down as president of the Olympic Council of Ireland (OCI) after being arrested during the Games, has been held in custody for 10 days.

At the weekend, his cell-mate Kevin Mallon was released on strict conditions from Gericinó Penitentiary Complex (Bangu) in west Rio.

The Superior Court of Justice in Brazil granted an injunction on Friday, authorising the release of THG director Mr Mallon (36), who had been in custody since August 5.

The Irish Independent understands that Mr Hickey's lawyers in Rio, Simone Kamenetz and Arthur Lavigne, were watching Mr Mallon's case closely and were working late last night to secure the release.

Read more: Kevin Mallon released from Brazil prison under strict bail conditions

Read more: Family fears for Pat Hickey's mental and physical health in Bangu 10 jail

His lawyers failed in a previous habeas corpus bid to have him released but subsequently appealed this.

The courts' archival system was shut down for maintenance work yesterday but a number of sources confirmed that movements are expected within days.

A source close to the investigation said: "Following Mr Mallon's release, there can be absolutely no justification for continuing to detain Mr Hickey.

"Our understanding is that he will be released as early as Monday."

A spokesperson for Mr Hickey's family in Dublin said they had no solid information confirming a release date.

"This is great news if it's true. The level of misinformation surrounding this investigation is colossal.

"This is one of the points the family are determined to push when they meet with (Foreign Affairs) Minister Charlie Flanagan. The impression being given is that the family want the minister to intervene in the legal process.

"This is not what they want. They simply want the minister to do his job and stand up for the rights of an Irish citizen."

Birthday

Mr Hickey's wife Sylviane had a birthday at the weekend and today he is missing another special occasion.

"Pat Hickey's first grandson goes to school tomorrow morning for the first time, something he was looking forward to," a spokesman said.

Mr Hickey has complained to solicitors about the terms of his detention. His family is now concentrating on trying to put pressure on the Brazilian authorities to have him released on conditions - and for a decision on a possible trial.

The family wants to meet the Brazilian ambassador "to express their concern at how Irish citizens are being treated in Brazil".

"(Pat Hickey) is on a Vatican-based council, Peace in Sport and we are going to reach out to the Vatican - (in the hope) that the local nuns and priests (in Brazil) might make contact with him," said solicitor Anne Marie James.

"I think the more contact that there is, the better."

If Mr Hickey is released, he is likely to be subject to the same conditions as Mr Mallon.

Read more: Kenny stuck for words on Rio tickets scandal as minister takes charge

The latter has been accused of touting tickets for the Olympic Games. Police found 823 tickets - many of which had been issued to the OCI - during a search of Mr Mallon's apartment on August 5.

Mr Mallon has been ordered to attend a court set up for special events today and periodically after that. He has been banned from accessing or attending premises connected to the Brazilian or International Olympic Committees for the period of the Paralympic Games.

He has also been given an 8pm curfew and his passport will remain with the authorities.

Irish Independent

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