Novak Djokovic withdrawn from detention at court hearing

The court hearing Novak Djokovic’s appeal in Melbourne ruled that the player must be removed from the Park Hotel in Carlton during the hearing, while Judge Anthony Kelly expressed his agitation over the rejection of Djokovic’s medical exemption .

The Federal Circuit Court of Australia is hearing Djokovic’s appeal against a decision to deny the tennis player a visa before the Australian Open.

The court issued an order issued yesterday ordering that Djokovic be taken from the Park Hotel – where he has been held since Thursday – and taken to “the premises specified by the applicant’s lawyers” during the hearing.

The order states: “The defendant, through its servants or agents, including the Australian Border Force, take all measures and do whatever may be necessary to bring the plaintiff to the premises specified by the plaintiff’s lawyers on Monday. January 10, 2022 (and every day thereafter, including when judgment is delivered), to allow him to stay there until the end of each hearing and to ensure his safe return to detention at the end of each hearing. hearing.

The hearing was delayed by technical issues with the court video link, but Djokovic’s lawyers argued their case before Judge Kelly, who asked the court “What more could this man have done? ? and said he was “agitated” over the issue of Djokovic’s medical exemption.

“Here, a professor and an eminently qualified physician produced and provided the applicant with a medical waiver,” Justice Kelly said.

“As a result of this, this medical exemption and the basis on which it was granted were given separately by another group of independent experts established by the Government of the State of Victoria and this document was in the hands of the delegate. . “

Djokovic’s lawyer Nicholas Wood argued that the notice of intention to cancel his visa was flawed because it was made on “a confusing mix of two grounds”.

He also argued that Djokovic was treated at the airport as if access to lawyers “could not” be helpful in the case and that he had not had a reasonable chance to respond to the notice. .

Australian government attorney Christopher Tran will argue that Djokovic responded to the notice.

The Park Hotel Melbourne where Novak Djokovic is being held in the state-run Quarantine and Detention Center (Meg Hill / PA)

At a press conference, a reporter asked Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison to respond to comments from Tennis Australia chief executive Craig Tiley, saying he had received conflicting advice from the government on medical exemptions.

Mr Morrison said: “Well the matter is in court so I can’t comment on the matter in court … but as far as the government, our government, the advice of the federal government to Tennis Australia, this was stated very clearly in November, by reading the extract from this same podium, it could not be clearer.

Mr Morrison declined to comment on court documents submitted by the government which indicate Djokovic could remain in detention if he wins his case in court.

The documents urged the court to “set aside the decision and costs” and said “it is inappropriate to make any further orders, whether immediate release or even remand to the delegate for reconsideration under the law.”

They also noted: “An immediate release order does not prevent re-detention if there is a power to detain. “

It was revealed in court documents submitted by Djokovic’s lawyers that the player was infected with Covid-19 in December 2021. The documents indicated that the infection was the basis for Djokovic’s medical exemption.

The documents also noted that Djokovic had expressed “shock”, “surprise and” confusion “when he was informed of the cancellation of his visa” given that (as he understood it) he had done all that he could. was necessary to enter Australia ”.

But the Australian Home Office filed court documents in which it said “there is no guarantee of entry of a non-national into Australia” and noted that the minister has the power to ‘cancel Djokovic’s visa a second time if the court decides in his favor.

“As the Court has raised with the parties in a previous reference, if this Court were to make orders in favor of the applicant, then it would be for the respondent to apply the law in accordance with the law. This may involve the delegate deciding whether to make another annulment decision, but there are other powers in the law as well, as the court is aware.

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