Saturday 24 February 2018

Pat Hickey 'home to Ireland this week'

Former OCI president set for court hearing in coming days

Brazil: Pat Hickey
Brazil: Pat Hickey
Cathal McMahon

Cathal McMahon

Pat Hickey has been told he could be back in Ireland by next weekend, depending on the outcome of a court hearing later this week.

The 71-year-old, who temporarily stood down as President of the Olympic Council of Ireland (OCI) following his arrest on August 17, learned late on Friday that charges against him had been accepted by a judge in Rio de Janeiro.

Mr Hickey sought legal advice from his team following the decision and he was told there would be a court hearing this week, according to sources.

Read more: Pat Hickey and Kevin Mallon set to stand trial in Rio after judge accepted charges against them

During this session, which Mr Hickey has been told he does not have to attend, a decision will be made over a date for a trial.

"If the trial is scheduled for the next couple of months, Pat Hickey will obviously stay in Rio until it takes place," a source told the Sunday Independent last night.

Pat Hickey. Photo: Reuters
Pat Hickey. Photo: Reuters

"However, if it looks like the trial will not happen for another year or two, he should get his passport back on condition that he return to Brazil for the trial. In this scenario, he would be back in Ireland by next weekend and he would resume his role as president of the OCI. He is essentially at a crossroads."

Mr Hickey is being represented in Brazil by solicitors Simone Kamenetz, Arthur Lavigne and Alan Caetano Ramos.

Earlier this week, public prosecutor Marcos Kac charged Mr Hickey, THG director Kevin Mallon and eight others with ticket-touting, ambush marketing, theft, tax evasion, money-laundering and criminal association.

Read more: Hickey to face trial after Rio judge accepts police charges 

The exact charges, and who they have been laid against, are contained in an 8,000 word court document.

On Friday, Judge Juliana Leal de Melo of the Fan and Major Events Court also ordered the passports of Mr Hickey and Mr Mallon be retained by the court and that Mr Hickey present himself before it every 20 days. She also ordered him to observe a 10pm curfew and banned him from attending events linked to the Rio Paralympic Games.

Pat Hickey, inset Kevin Mallon
Pat Hickey, inset Kevin Mallon

Despite this, Mr Hickey's legal team are confident that he could still get his passport back at a hearing this week.

However, police in Rio de Janeiro say it is "extremely unlikely" that Mr Hickey would be permitted to return to Ireland while his case is before the courts, regardless of how long the legal process would take.

Investigator Aloysio Falcao said: "I don't think this is possible. There is no process before the courts and this would most likely not happen."

Both Mr Hickey and Mr Mallon were also warned on Friday that any breach of their strict bail conditions could see them being returned to prison.

Sunday Independent

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