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Brazil's supreme court grants injunction to suspend Kevin Mallon's ticket touting court date

Mallon’s legal team told the court: “We are shouting but no one is listening.”

Image: Martin Rickett/PA Images

THE SUPREME COURT in Brazil has granted an injunction to suspend the Rio de Janeiro court hearing in which Kevin Mallon was due to give evidence as part of his ongoing trial for alleged ticket touting and other crimes during last years Olympic Games.

THG executive Mallon and former OCI President Pat Hickey were due to appear in a Rio de Janeiro court on 29 November, at what is known as an “instruction and judgement” hearing, where the judge would hear witnesses for both prosecution and defence.

Both men were legally required to attend the hearing, as part of a bond contract each signed in order to have their passports returned, enabling them to leave Brazil late last year.

However, the Sao Paulo-based legal team for the Dublin man arrested on the eve of the international sporting event last year, has succeeded in one of several legal requests that the process be suspended.

Lawyer Franklin Gomes said the case had been mishandled since the outset. “We are shouting, but no-one is listening,” he said.

He said that the local court in Rio de Janeiro repeatedly failed to follow procedure

We lodged several preliminary questions to the court in the last year, but these were never responded to. No-one has looked at the documents we submitted.

In a written statement, a spokesperson for the Supreme Court of Justice (STJ in Portuguese), confirmed that the trial in Rio de Janeiro is suspended until the Brasília court analyses the merit of a Habeas Corpus claim lodged on behalf of Mr Mallon.

“The defence of Kevin Mallon asked for the locking of the penal action, on the understanding of illegal duress, for lack of just cause in the denouncement presented by the public prosecutor,” they said.

They said the Rio trial would remain on hold until this case is decided in the Brazilian capital.

However, they were unable to immediately confirm whether the entire process was suspended, or just Kevin Mallons’ participation.

In that, it remains unclear whether Pat Hickey is still due in court at the end of the month. Hickey’s Brazilian legal team did not return several calls. The local court in Rio de Janeiro said they are unaware of the suspension of the case.

Franklin Gomes lodged five separate Habeas Corpus files with the local court in Rio de Janeiro, citing a lack of just cause.

He complained that he could not adequately build his clients defence, as no evidence was offered, nor was there clarity on his client’s alleged involvement in any crime on Brazilian jurisdiction.

Two of these requests were refused, while one is currently under consideration with local judge Fernando Antonio de Almeida. Two further claims have had no procedural movement since March and April 2017, respectively.

Separately, Gomes brought two separate Habeas Corpus applications to the Supreme Court, requesting that the legal process be suspended.

Supreme Court judge Dantos Ribeiro denied the first request in a written statement on 13 October, in which he stated “I do not verify the occurrence of blatant illegality in the contested decision (to accept charges), in a form that would justify the processing of the current order”.

This was appealed on 25 October, and the appeal withdrawn two days later, after a favourable decision was reached on the other Habeas Corpus claim. “We withdrew the appeal because we no longer needed it,” Mallon’s lawyer confirmed.

He said he met with the deciding judge in Brasília two days before the 26 October decision was reached. He said he was well received by the “competent” judge.

In the second Habeas Corpus filed at the Supreme Court, Mallon’s lawyer said the case against his client was “inept”, that “all of the construction of the alleged criminal practice is rooted in conclusion, and without proof”.

He said charges against Mallon “attempts to put criminal connotation on legitimate business dealings, which occurred between companies and entities outside of Brazil” that were “absolutely legal, with no single piece of evidence to the contrary”.

In his 26 October written judgement, posted on the Supreme Court website in recent days, Mr Justice Dantos Ribeiro noted that Habeas Corpus may only be used as an “exceptional measure”.

He further stated: “I verify the fulfillment of the necessary requisites for the concession of the injunction sought, since, with even a perfunctory analysis, there are sufficient indications of the configuration of the alleged illegal duress.”

He said that Habeas Corpus could be used to “lock” a legal process “when there is proof of atypical behavior, the incidence of cause of extinction of criminality or the absence of indications of the authorship of a crime, or proof of the material nature of the crime.”

Gomes said that he is confident that the Supreme court judge will decide “in accordance with the law”, and that Mallon “will be absolved of all accusations”. He said the handling of the case since last year has been “absurd”, and asserted “ there is absolutely zero evidence against him”.

It is unknown how long it may take for a decision from Brasília.

Read: Shane Ross says Ireland can be friends with the OCI again following ticket deal cancellation

Read: Committee wants to know why OCI is locked into contract with company at centre of Rio scandal

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Sarah O'Sullivan

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