Sunday 25 February 2018

Why Hickey case poses legal challenges

Pat Hickey Picture credit: Brendan Moran / SPORTSFILE
Pat Hickey Picture credit: Brendan Moran / SPORTSFILE
Shane Phelan

Shane Phelan

Olympic Council of Ireland president Pat Hickey is facing up to seven years in jail if he is charged and convicted as part of the Olympic ticket touting investigation.

Mr Hickey (71) is facing three potential charges - facilitating ticket touting, forming a cartel and illicit marketing.

Police in Brazil said that in the event of him being charged, it was likely Mr Hickey would end up under house arrest rather than being detained in prison, on account of his age.

Another consideration to be taken into account is that Mr Hickey has a heart condition.

It is likely to be a number of days before a decision is taken on whether he is charged or released.

Warrants were also issued for three other Irishmen yesterday as part of the probe, bringing to four the number of Irish being sought by police in Rio de Janeiro.

None of the four - Pro10 directors Eamonn Collins, Ken Murray and Michael Glynn pictured left), and Dublin-based director of UK ticket handler THG Sports, David Gilmore - are thought to be in Brazil at present and extradition proceedings may be contemplated.

All four have denied any wrongdoing via statements issued through their respective companies.

Although there is no formal extradition treaty between Ireland and Brazil, the Department of Justice said both countries can consider requests from each other on a reciprocal basis.

This follows a bilateral agreement reached in the case of former solicitor Michael Lynn, who is in the final stages of being extradited to Ireland to face mortgage fraud charges.

Mr Gilmore's THG colleague Kevin Mallon is in custody in Rio de Janeiro having been charged with illegal selling of tickets.

The investigation would need to advance significantly before any extradition application could be entertained as Ireland does not extradite for the purpose of questioning. Formal charges would need to be brought before an extradition application could be entertained.

Another potential stumbling block is that Ireland must have a corresponding law for whatever offence Brazilian authorities may bring charges for. Ireland does not have legislation explicitly preventing above-cost touting of tickets.

Warrants have also been issued for the arrest of UK-based THG Sports directors Marcus Evans, Martin Studd and Maarten Van Os.

Irish Independent

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