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Monday 20 November 2017

Brazilian court sets November date for Hickey trial

Pat Hickey is facing trial Pic: INPHO
Pat Hickey is facing trial Pic: INPHO

A court in Rio de Janeiro has set a date in November for the trial of former Olympic Council of Ireland (OCI) president Pat Hickey.

The trial will begin on November 29, nearly a full year after he left Brazil.

He faces a series of charges, including ticket-touting.

Mr Hickey had been forced to remain in Brazil on his release from prison after his arrest during last year's Olympic Games.

Mr Hickey was given permission to return to Ireland last Christmas, citing medical grounds, and on payment of a bond of R$1.5m (€400,000) to the courts.

Prosecutor Marcos Kac said last week that if Mr Hickey did not return to Brazil for the trial, his bond would be retained locally.

Mr Hickey's legal team had suggested he may testify by video-link, at the discretion of the judge. Judge Guilherme Schilling Duarte published a statement on the Rio de Janeiro courts systems in recent days to set the date.

Innocent

He stated that only Mr Hickey and a co-accused, Kevin Mallon, have responded to criminal accusations relating to the ticket-touting controversy so far.

Both have declared they are innocent of charges against them.

A Brazilian woman, Barbara Carnieri, arrested alongside Mr Mallon, has not responded to the charges. Other defendants listed in the Hickey case have been summoned "por edital" (by publication), in a separ- ate and ongoing criminal process.

In his written statement, the judge said the respective defence teams of Mr Hickey and Mr Mallon had "confused themselves" with the material substance of the case.

Both defence teams argued that no crime was committed by their clients, and cited a lack of evidence to the contrary.

The judge said that, while the arguments of legal teams "will be resolved during the course of the instruction", there is just cause to proceed with the criminal trial.

A hearing of "instruction and judgment" was set for November 29.

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