The Serbian wins the oral hearing and will be able to enter the country, but his participation in the tournament is still up in the air
Novak Djokovic has his first victory against the Australian Government in his pocket. Judge Anthony Kelly ruled in the early hours of Monday that the cancellation of the tennis player’s visa was “unjustified” on the grounds that the Government did not notify Djokovic of the withdrawal of his visa in time for him to respond. Kelly, in a trial that lasted for just over six hours, decreed that Djokovic will be released, his passport and visa will be returned and he will be able to enter Australia from Monday.
However, this is not the end of the case, since the Government has already dropped its intention to intervene extraordinarily to withdraw Djokovic’s visa again, so that his participation in the next Australian Open, which begins next 17 January, is still a doubt. Once the favorable result for the Serbian tennis player was known, the prosecution’s lawyer, Christopher Tran, pointed out that the immigration minister, Alex Hawke, could exercise his personal right to cancel Djokovic’s visa. This would take the case to a future trial and Djokovic could face three years without being able to set foot in Australia should he lose it.
In any event, Djokovic won his first battle against Australia, in a trial where he played his cards better than the prosecution. His three lawyers convinced Judge Kelly of the “nonsense” in which Djokovic was involved and that he presented all the documents required of him, that he had all the guarantees to enter the country and that these were changed at the last minute at the border to leave him out. The presentation of the evidence by the Serbian’s lawyers led the judge to sentence, less than an hour after the start of the hearing: “What else could this man do?”
Djokovic appeared six days ago in Australia with a medical exemption certified by two Australian institutions that, at the last minute, was withdrawn by the Australian Government under the reason that the positive in covid that he alleged is not sufficient reason to receive a permit for the not vaccinated. The tournament organization reported that the positives in the six months were one of the reasons for being able to access the exemption, but the Government changed its mind less than two months ago and the tennis players were never notified.
The judge also found irregularities in the conditions in which the tennis player was isolated at the airport, when he was asked to turn off the phone and left incommunicado for several hours. Despite the fact that the prosecution pointed out that at no time was Djokovic “pressured” by the border forces, Kelly argued, based on the recordings of that day, that there was some pressure on the player because of how people did not stop entering and leaving the room where he was interviewed.
After more than six hours, Kelly ruled in Djokovic’s favor, after his lawyers lingered for three hours and the prosecution only contributed half an hour. Minutes after the verdict, Djokovic is released and will be able to enter the country, although with the notice by the Australian Government that the case is not closed and that he may face a new deportation that this time would generate a three-year sanction without step on the country.
This decision does not eliminate all the unknowns regarding the case, the most important of them, why the Serbian tested positive for COVID on December 16, but attended the Serbian tennis federation award ceremony on December 17, without a mask or distance. social, and on the 18th to a photographic session plus an interview with the French newspaper L’Equipe.
The ruling was greeted with celebrations by Serbian supporters crowded outside the courts and also by Djokovic’s family, who have advocated during the five days of confinement for the player’s freedom.