An Australian court on Monday ordered the release of the number one tennis player, the Serbian Novak Djokovic, who had been detained since last Thursday in a detention center in the city of Melbourne after the revocation of his visa for not being vaccinated against covid-19.
Judge Anthony Kelly of the Melbourne Federal Circuit Court ordered the Australian Government to implement the release order within the next 30 minutes, give him his passport and personal effects and pay the legal costs of Djokovic, who could play in the Australian Open.
But nevertheless, a government lawyer has warned that the Australian government may still order Djokovic’s expulsion from Australia.
The court decision would allow Djokovic to participate in the Australian Open, which if he won, would become his tenth title of that tournament and his twenty-first Grand Slam and thus surpass the Swiss Roger Federer and the Spanish Rafael Nadal.
In today’s virtual hearing, the Australian Government agreed to reverse its decision to cancel the visa, although attorney Christopher Tran noted that Immigration Minister Alex Hawke is considering using his special powers to deport Djokovic.
This potential gesture by the Executive of Scott Morrison, who seeks to be re-elected this year, would be “very worrying,” Judge Kelly said when weighing the potential consequences.
They were hours of maximum tension for Novak Djokovic in Australia. The Serbian defended himself in the Federal Court of Melbourne, virtually, in the framework of the appeal presented by his lawyers after his visa was revoked upon entering the country under the current covid-19 regulations.
The hearing was supposed to begin at 10:00 am on Monday (23:00 GMT on Sunday, 20:00 in Argentina), but Due to transmission problems, its start was delayed 40 minutes (Once it started, it was interrupted for a few minutes as well.) As the technical problems were not solved, no one who was not involved in the process could observe what was happening. Nicholas Wood is the one who represents the tennis playerwhose attorneys are Hall and Wilcox. Christopher Tran appears on behalf of the Australian government.
Wood began by noting that the reasons for Djokovic’s visa cancellation were a “confusing mix of motives,” directly targeting local authorities. In turn, he argued that according to the Biosafety Law, travelers must indicate if they are vaccinated and – if not – if it is due to any medical contradiction: “The traveler is not required to provide proof.”
At that point, the representative of the Serbian emphasized that the law establishes that travelers “can” present medical certificates, suggesting that it is not an obligation to do so, but an option: “Mr. Djokovic made a statement that he had a medical contraindication. He was not required, as part of that statement, to provide evidence, although he did. “
After more than an hour of hearing, the defenders of Djokovic they delved into the medical exemption that the player had obtained from the medical director of Tennis Australia. It was there that the judge Anthony Kelly He was amazed: “Here a professor and an eminently qualified doctor have presented and provided the applicant with a medical exemption. In addition to that, that medical exemption, and the basis on which it was granted, was granted separately by another independent expert panel established by the Victorian state government. I’m worried about what else this man (Djokovic) could have done“To which Woods added:” I agree. “
At this point, the hearing was interrupted because several users, unrelated to the process, tried to enter it. The magistrate then indicated to stop it and resume it in a few minutes, probably through a new link.
Judge Anthony Kelly will decide whether to agree with the tennis player and cancel the cancellation of his visa or if he upholds the authorities’ decision to deny entry to the leader of the ladder. In the event that the magistrate ratifies this decision to revoke the permit, Nole could suffer even greater punishment since You could be barred from Australia until 2025.
The Serbian Sports Daily Flash, citing Australian border sources, reported that “A person whose visa has been revoked may be prohibited for a period of three years from even being issued a temporary visa”, which would prevent the presence of Djokovic in the first Grand Slam of the year until 2025. It should be noted that the Serbian is the all-time top Australian Open winner, with nine titles to his credit after winning the 2008, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2015, 2016, 2019, 2020 and 2021 editions.
But what are the options presented to the world’s number one?
First, it should be noted that the process is not easy since Australian public parties, federal and regional, and a private institution, the organizers of the tournament, are involved in the conflict. In addition, time is short because there are only seven days left before the start of the activity, which is why the magistrate rejected the authorities’ request to postpone the hearing.
In this frame, the judge must analyze whether the immigration officials acted accordingly with the tennis player and in turn he will listen to the arguments of the athlete’s defense, who will be present and may be questioned and cross-examined on any question that involves him.
According to an agency report AFP, if Judge Anthony Kelly decides in favor of Djokovic, he would annul the cancellation of his visa, which would be valid again. It would be a sensational victory for Djokovic, a vaccine skeptic, and a dramatic setback for the Australian government, which has been enforcing strict Covid-19 controls at its borders for about two years. The legal team of the Serbian star has exposed what he wants the judge to rule in this scenario. In a 35-page brief before the hearing, they ask for his “immediate release” before 5:00 pm on Monday. They have also asked the judge to rule “as soon as possible”, without waiting to elaborate his legal reasoning that, they say, could be released later. The Australian Open begins just seven days after Monday’s hearing.
However, the government is sure to appeal that ruling, according to Christopher Levingston, a certified immigration law specialist with more than 20 years of experience. Y during the appeal “Mr. Djokovic would continue to be detained for immigration reasons,” he said in an analysis of the case.
But, yesIf the hearing is resolved in favor of the Australian government, it is likely that the Australian government will try to expel Djokovic from the country on the next available plane from Melbourne. Last Thursday, the judge ordered the Interior Minister, Karen Andrews, not to expel Djokovic while he presented his appeal. That order expires on Monday at 4:00 p.m. Levingston said the government’s case was based on a section of immigration law that he said “will ultimately cause Mr. Djokovic to fail in his application.” According to the law, the minister only has to demonstrate that the presence of the visa holder “may, would be or could be” a risk to the health, safety or good order of Australians. But even if the government wins, the Serbian superstar could appeal.
If the judge dismisses the tennis ace case, there could be an appeal from Djokovic. “If he loses, it is very likely that an appeal will be filed,” he said. John Findley, an attorney-director who focuses on immigration, family, business and tax matters. In that case, Djokovic’s lawyers would have to argue that there was a mistake and probably point to some unproven point of the law, he added. But even if such an appeal is filed, Djokovic could not go free while the case is arguedLevingston said. Although the judge can admit an appeal, he could not order the government to grant a visa allowing Djokovic to get out of detention. The Australian Home Secretary could grant such a visa, he said. But it is unlikely that he will, given the government’s position on his case and politics.
It is necessary to remember that this Saturday, Serbian lawyers made a presentation to support the appeal. The main focus indicates that Nole He had a medical exemption to enter the host country of the Australian Open -whose start is scheduled for next January 17- because he had a coronavirus weeks ago. “The date of the first Positive PCR test for COVID was recorded on December 16, 2021″ Says the document quoted by the Australian media. However, he did not present fevers or other symptoms in the 72 hours after that positive test. After the presentation of this resource, the controversy grew since quickly in social networks photos of the number 1 of the world ranking began to appear that showed their presence in different events surrounded by forgives and without a mask during those days of December.
The number one in the world awaits the definition of his future housed in a migration center located in the old Park Hotel, which has hermetically closed windows and from which no one can enter or leave, only the staff who work there can leave. In the last hours, Nole has requested to be assigned a personal chef with the aim of taking care of their strict gluten-free diet and You have filed an order to be transferred to an apartment complex with a tennis court to be able to train towards his goal of participating in the first Grand Slam of the year. In fact, the Serbian has offered to pay out of his own pocket to hire a group of private security agents to guarantee the transfer. But nevertheless, each and every one of his requests has been rejected by the Australian Border Force.