Pat Hickey subjected to ‘hatefest’ due to Rio ticketing claims

Treatment by Brazil authorities an ‘outrageous breach’ of rights - family lawyer

Olympic Council of Ireland president Pat Hickey who is in custody in Brazil in relation to allegations of ticket touting has been subjected to a "hatefest", a family lawyer has said.

Anne Marie James said the manner in which the Brazilian authorities had treated Mr Hickey was an "outrageous breach of his fundamental human rights" and coverage of his arrest and detention had been a "one-sided hatefest".

She told RTÉ Radio 1's Marian Finucane programme: "To be treated and humiliated in the fashion that he has been and then for the drip feed of information to come from the Brazilian police where they had the audacity to use Liveline to try and explain things - and yet he is gagged.

‘Flimsiest of assumptions’

“He is in a prison cell. He has not been charged with anything. These are accusations based on the flimsiest of assumptions.”


Police arrested Mr Hickey on Wednesday of last week and he is 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.

The OCI and Mr Hickey have repeatedly denied wrongdoing in this controversy.

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 said it was not correct to state that Mr Hickey had refused a request by Minister for Sport Shane Ross to put an independent member on the OCI's internal investigation into the ticketing scandal.

She said Mr Hickey had asked for the assistant secretary general of the Department of Transport Tourism and Sport, Ken Spratt, to be involved.

‘Smoke and mirrors’

It was “all smoke and mirrors that he [Mr Hickey] was of no assistance”, she suggested. “That hasn’t come out.”

Ms James, who works with solicitors Kirwan McKeown James, revealed the Hickey family has appointed a firm of criminal lawyers in Ireland to liaise with the lawyers in Rio de Janeiro.

Mr Hickey has asked for documentation from the OCI which he says will exonerate him, she said, and the OCI has appointed Arthur Cox solicitors to act on its behalf.

The family will meet Minister for Foreign Affairs Charlie Flanagan next Wednesday to discuss the case.

Ms James also revealed the Irish Ambassador to Brazil, Brian Glynn, has been asked to remain in Rio to deal with the case of Mr Hickey and Mr Mallon.

She expressed a hope the Irish Government would keep a close eye on what is happening and that the "trial by media" would stop.

She also told the programme Mr Hickey had asked for mosquito repellent, suggesting he could be exposed to malaria or the Zika virus.

Concern for health

He has previously had electric shock treatment for a heart condition. The effect of his incarceration “could be not be underestimated”, she said, and his family’s main concern was for his health.

Mr Hickey is going to miss taking his grandson to school while two of his daughters-in-law are pregnant. “The stress for the family as human beings is awful. They are absolutely devastated,” she said.

“He is a very private and family man in Ireland. He doesn’t live the high life in any way. He has a very modest lifestyle.”

She admitted his reputation had been “irreparably damaged” by the allegations.

“He has worked an awfully long time to get to where he is. I know he is not popular here, but he seems to be very popular internationally.”

Ronan McGreevy

Ronan McGreevy

Ronan McGreevy is a news reporter with The Irish Times