Irish man Kevin Mallon released from jail in Rio

Release was delayed when authorities could not find electronic ankle monitor for him

Irish man Kevin Mallon (centre, check shirt) with members of his legal team following his release from the Bangú 10 prison in the western suburbs of Rio on Saturday night. Photograph: Phil Clarke Hill/The Irish Times

Irish man Kevin Mallon (centre, check shirt) with members of his legal team following his release from the Bangú 10 prison in the western suburbs of Rio on Saturday night. Photograph: Phil Clarke Hill/The Irish Times

 

The Irishman whose arrest sparked the Olympic Council of Ireland (OCI) ticketing controversy has been released from prison after a federal judge in Brazil granted him a temporary writ of habeas corpus.

Kevin Mallon was released at 2am Irish time after a final hold-up caused when authorities could not find an electronic ankle monitor for him to wear.

His lawyers had to petition a court in Rio to change the conditions of his release so he could be freed without the ankle monitor.

Mr Mallon has been held in jail since his arrest on August 5th in possession of 823 OCI tickets for the Olympic Games.

Police have accused him of ticket touting. Mr Mallon’s company THG denies any wrongdoing. It was not authorised to sell tickets or hospitality packages for the Games in Rio.

In a ruling published in the early hours of Saturday judge Ribeiro Dantas of the superior court of justice in the capital Brasília reversed his previous rejection on August 15th of a request for habeas corpus and granted one to Mr Mallon’s lawyers.

A court official conveyed the writ to the Bangú 10 prison in the western suburbs of Rio where Mr Mallon has been sharing a cell with OCI president Patrick Hickey following his arrest on August 17th.

Both men and the OCI have denied wrongdoing. Mr Hickey has temporarily stepped aside from his role.

The writ is temporary and must be confirmed by a panel of the court in Brasília. No date has yet been set for the panel to rule on Judge Dantas’ decision.

Mr Mallon’s passport will not be returned to him to ensure he remains in Brazil.

Mr Mallon’s lawyer Franklin Gomes said the granting of the writ to his client does not necessarily mean that Mr Hickey will be entitled to one as the two men are the subject of separate police investigations into OCI ticketing arrangements at the Olympics.

A THG statement following the judge’s ruling read: “Following intensive efforts by our lawyers in Brazil, THG welcomes the news that our colleague Kevin Mallon is shortly to be released from preventative detention in Rio.

“In line with our previous statements on this matter THG has welcomed the public enquiry in Ireland into these matters and believes that the company and its executives will be vindicated when all of the evidence is reviewed.

“We will continue to work to secure Kevin’s full release and his return to Dublin. Meanwhile, THG is providing full support to Kevin and his family and will continue to seek to ensure their privacy at this difficult time.”