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Monday, January 24, 2022

Another visa cancellation triggers another legal battle in Djokovic’s Melbourne saga

When the final verdict would be made, will the case be moved to the higher Federal Court, and if Djokovic would be returned to detention, or deported, till the final verdict?

Written by Shahid Judge |
January 15, 2022 11:34:12 am
Novak Djokovic, Covid 19, Vaccine Pass, Covid 19 Novak Djokovic, Novak Djokovic Covid 19, sports news, indian expressNovak Djokovic (File)

Shortly after Immigration Minister Alex Hawke made the decision to cancel Novak Djokovic’s visa, the World No. 1’s lawyers moved court to appeal the decision. Again, in the Federal Circuit Court, it was Judge Anthony Kelly who presided over the hearing that was essentially to discuss where the case would be heading. Also, when the final verdict would be made, will the case be moved to the higher Federal Court, and if Djokovic would be returned to detention, or deported, till the final verdict.

Both sides made their claims till Judge Kelly gave the final order for the day, moving the case to the Federal Court.

Djokovic’s demands

Nicholas Wood SC, arguing on Djokovic’s behalf, questioned the timing of Hawke’s decision, which came “shortly after 6 PM on a Friday,” and four days after Judge Kelly had made the order to remove Djokovic from the detention he was placed in when he landed in Australia last week.

Wood requested that the case should remain with the Federal Circuit Court and not be pushed up to the Federal Court as time was “precious.”

“Mr Djokovic may be scheduled to play on Monday night or Tuesday night … In those circumstances, we’re very concerned about time,” he said.

He also confirmed that Djokovic had not been detained so far.

Wood also argued that Hawke’s reason for cancelling Djokovic’s visa were in “stark contrast” to the ones used by the Australian Border Force (ABF). He claimed the reason cited by Hawke was that Djokovic’s presence in Australia will excite “anti-vax sentiment.”

In his statement released to the media, Hawke had claimed that the decision was made “on health and good order grounds, on the basis that it was in the public interest to do so.”

Minister Hawke’s demands

Through his lawyer Stephen Lloyd, Hawke agreed that Djokovic will not be deported until the verdict in the case arrives.

With regards to detention, there was agreement that the 20-time Grand Slam champion will not be detained on Friday night. However, post his interview with immigration officials at 8AM on Saturday, Djokovic will be escorted by two ABF officials into the office of his solicitors – the security will be stationed on the same floor, but away from the conference room. Essentially, Djokovic will be detained post his meeting with immigration officers, till the court’s final hearing on Sunday.

Judge Kelly’s final orders

In a move that goes against the player, Judge Kelly moved the case to the Federal Court.

Essentially, four points were made.

The first was that Djokovic submit “as soon as reasonably practical” a formal affidavit and application along with Hawke’s reasons for deportation.

Second, Djokovic will not be deported from Australia until the case is over.

Third, following Djokovic’s interview with immigration officials, he will be supervised by ABF from 10 AM to 2PM on Saturday at his solicitors’ office.

Finally, Djokovic will continue in detention from 9AM on Sunday at his legal team’s office till the duration of the hearing.

Heeding Wood’s request, Judge Kelly added “any other location agreed between the parties” so as to not incite crowds to flock down to the solicitors’ office”. In other words, only both parties and the court will know where Djokovic will be meeting with his lawyers on Saturday and Sunday.

As it stands at the Australian Open

Djokovic remains the top seed and will likely be called to play on either Monday night or Tuesday night, against compatriot Miomir Kecmanovic in the first round.

The schedule and draw will only change if the Federal Court rules in favour of the Australian government on Sunday.

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