Saturday 15 December 2018

Pat Hickey will not live long if he doesn't get home: lawyer

Former OCI chief Pat Hickey. Photo: Steve Humphreys
Former OCI chief Pat Hickey. Photo: Steve Humphreys

Cathal McMahon and Ryan Nugent

Former Olympic Council of Ireland (OCI) chief Pat Hickey needs to undergo a delicate heart procedure, his lawyer has revealed.

The 71-year-old's solicitor Simone Kamenetz has told the Irish Independent that he is "sick". She said that if Mr Hickey is not allowed to return to Ireland then he will not live long enough to see the end of the case.

Resigned: Kevin Kilty. Photo: Steve Humphreys
Resigned: Kevin Kilty. Photo: Steve Humphreys

Mr Hickey, who stood down as president of the OCI following his arrest on August 17 during the Rio Olympics, has been forced to remain in Brazil where he is facing ticket-touting charges.

He and THG director Kevin Mallon are facing charges of ticket-touting, illicit marketing and money-laundering in Brazil. Both deny all allegations made against them in relation to ticketing at the event.

Earlier this month Mr Hickey's legal team applied to the courts to have his passport returned.

Ms Kamenetz said: "I can tell you that Mr Hickey is sick.

"Mr Hickey must undergo a delicate heart procedure and he should be allowed to do it with his doctors that have been following his health conditions already for years, with his family alongside with him.

"This is a humanitarian issue. Mr Hickey will not hide from the Brazilian justice, mostly because it is his desire to be totally cleared of all accusations. But if he is obliged to stay here for years, he will not be alive to see the end of this case."

Earlier yesterday, Sports Ireland chairman Kieran Mulvey said Mr Hickey had told him personally of his desire to clear his name.

Mr Mulvey insisted that Mr Hickey should be allowed to come back to Ireland from Brazil.

Read more: 'I was never active in the daily running of OCI' - says Delaney as he steps down

However, he said he didn't expect the long-time OCI president to return to his role if he was allowed to fly back to Ireland.

"I would be very concerned at the moment on humanitarian and personal grounds that I think he should be allowed to return home on the basis that he returns for trial if a trial is to go ahead," Mr Mulvey said.

"I believe strongly in the presumption of innocence.

"He also is not enjoying the best of health. He does have a cardiac problem and should be allowed to return home to have that treated.

"I'll just go by the statements that are made. I think Pat is probably of the view and I think he indicated that he will probably step down appropriately and continue his other international roles.

"He is the president of the European Olympic Committee and he's a member of the executive committee of the IOC and from their statements both by Thomas Bach and recently by the European Olympic Committee, they'll be welcoming him back with open arms, again on the basis of the presumption of innocence."

OCI honorary treasurer and Chef de Mission for the Rio Games Kevin Kilty yesterday became the latest member of the board to resign.

Mr Kilty's resignation is the second in two days after FAI chief executive John Delaney stepped down from his position on Tuesday night.

The Chef de Mission was one of three OCI members along with Mr Hickey to have their computers, phones and passports seized by Brazilian police during the ticket touting probe in Rio.

Mr Kilty was subsequently released by the authorities without charge.

Yesterday, pressed as to whether he thought Mr Hickey should return to his role with the OCI, Mr Mulvey said he did not want to comment on the matter.

"I don't wish to get into Pat Hickey returning [to the OCI], I don't wish to get into that at all," he said.

"That's not a matter for me, but I certainly would welcome his return to international duties.

"He has represented the country quite well over the years from what I have seen and experienced."

Meanwhile, Sports Minister Patrick O'Donovan insisted he was not worried about timelines over the completion of a State inquiry into the ticket scandal.

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