OCI’s Pat Hickey ‘treated worse than a murderer’

Family lawyer critical of arrest by Brazilian police

 President of the Olympic Council of Ireland Patrick Hickey. Photograph:  Yui Mok/PA Wire.

President of the Olympic Council of Ireland Patrick Hickey. Photograph: Yui Mok/PA Wire.


A solicitor for the Hickey family says that a murderer in Brazil would not have been treated in the same way as Pat Hickey was when he was arrested.

“Whether you like the man or not, the Department of Foreign Affairs have to represent him,” Anne Marie James told Newstalk’s Pat Kenny Show.

“Ticket touting is not murder,” she added.

Police arrested Mr Hickey on Wednesday of last week and he was sharing a prison cell with THG official Kevin Mallon. They were arrested by the Brazilian authorities investigating the alleged illegal sale of tickets allocated by the OCI to THG. Mr Mallon was released over the weekend.

THG was not authorised to sell tickets or hospitality packages for the event within Brazil or abroad and therefore any attempt by that company to sell the tickets was illegal. Both men deny any wrongdoing.

Ms James, who works with solicitors Kirwan McKeown James, said that while Mr Hickey might have been a public figure, the family is private. They had been very distressed to find cars outside their house and to have been chased down the street while with small children.

“There is an astonishing level of malevolence about him. People are afraid to say good things about him.”

The family would like Minister for Foreign Affairs Charlie Flanagan to call in the Brazilian Ambassador to Ireland “and let them know we’re watching”, she said.

“Who else is going to stand up for Irish citizens abroad?” she asked.

The solicitor added that Brazilian police had ‘flagrantly abused’ the concept of the presumption of innocence.

“The video of his arrest was an attempt to degrade him.”

Ms James added that there was “a huge amount of misinformation” and that the family was getting more information from the media than anywhere else.

She also said that until Mr Hickey is charged some comments about him in the media could be deemed as defamatory.