A court in Brazil has removed some of the charges against former Olympic Council of Ireland president Pat Hickey.

He was arrested in Rio de Janeiro on the eve of the 2016 Olympic Games as part of an investigation into alleged illegal ticket sales.

Three of the charges against Mr Hickey, along with Kevin Mallon, director of sports hospitality company THG, and Brazilian woman Barbara Carnieri, were dropped from the case due to "extinction of punishability", in a decision published on 18 October 2021.

A charge relating to the use of Rio 2016 logos, products or services, for economic advantage, without the correct permissions was formally dropped by the Rio court, as was a charge relating to tax evasion in Brazil.

A further charge that relates to the sale of sporting tickets for a price higher than face value was also dropped.

A spokesperson for the Courts Service in Rio de Janeiro said charges were removed from the Hickey case because "the state lost the opportunity to punish" due to the time that had elapsed, and the length of sentencing ascribed to such crimes.

However, a charge under the broader activity and operations side of ticket scalping remains active against the three defendants.

Criminal organisation charges were also maintained on the prosecution process as was the accusation of larceny.

In Brazil, criminal organisation, defined as to "promote, constitute, finance or integrate, personally or through an intermediary, a criminal organisation", carries a penalty of three to eight years in prison and a fine.

In the October ruling, the Rio de Janeiro court set a date of 23 November 2021 for "instruction and judgment" on the case, but this hearing was postponed on request by Mr Mallon's defence team.

The Courts Service in Rio de Janeiro confirmed that lawyers had requested additional time for "carrying out other measures".

An earlier date was set for this hearing four years ago, in November 2017, and the prosecution listed 13 witnesses. However, just weeks before the court date, Mr Mallon's team were granted an injunction from the Supreme Court in Brasilia.

Two weeks previously they had been denied a separate Habeas Corpus claim by the same judge.

While a new date has not yet been set for the hearing, a note on the case file dated 13 May 2021 outlined advice from SEREI (Rio de Janeiro Courts Service Sector for Rogatory, Extradition and Interpretation) that a minimum of eight months would be needed for rogatory compliance.

Mr Hickey and Mr Mallon left Brazil in December 2016, having each paid a bond to the Brazilian courts.

Mr Hickey paid a bond of BRL$1.5m, equivalent to around €410,000 at the time.

It is not clear whether the men will have to appear in person in Rio de Janeiro once a new court date has been set.

Such a decision is at the discretion of the presiding judge.

Defence lawyers for the two men have maintained their clients' innocence since the men were arrested in 2016, and in five years have made several submissions to courts in Rio de Janeiro, as well as to the Supreme Court in Brasilia, suggesting a "lack of just cause".