Crime & Justice

Australia loses bid to delay Djokovic case hearing

Sydney, Australia, Jan 9 (EFE).- An application by the Australian government’s lawyers requesting a two-day delay of the hearing on the deportation of Serbian tennis player Novak Djokovic was rejected on Sunday.

In an order published on Sunday, judge Anthony Kelly of the Federal Circuit and Family Court in Melbourne said that the hearing on the revocation of the tennis player’s visa will take place via video and audio link at 10 am on Monday as scheduled.

The Department of Home Affairs’ lawyers had asked the court to delay the case to Wednesday but Judge Anthony Kelly rejected the application.

The petition came after the tennis player’s lawyers presented a 35-page document in court on Saturday in which they alleged that the world no. 1 was exempted from the vaccination mandate required to enter Australia because he contracted coronavirus in December.

The lawyers said that Djokovic tested positive for Covid-19 on Dec. 16, 2021 and was “provided with a ‘medical exemption from Covid vaccination’ on the ground that he had recently recovered from Covid.”

The exemption was granted 14 days after the 34-year-old tested positive for coronavirus and after 72 hours without symptoms.

On Thursday, the tennis player’s legal team said they were advised by Tennis Australia that they would need a definitive answer for scheduling purposes by Tuesday, to which the judge replied that “the tail won’t be wagging the dog here.”

The year’s first Grand Slam is scheduled to be held in Melbourne between Jan. 17 and 30.

In the midst of an international uproar, Australian authorities revoked Djokovic’s visa for failing to comply with Covid-19 measures upon his arrival in the Oceania country on Wednesday night despite having obtained a medical exemption to defend his Australian Open title.

He has been in immigration detention in a hotel in Melbourne since Thursday the court hearing on an appeal against his deportation.

Despite the lawyers’ argument that Djokovic tested positive for Covid-19 on Dec. 16, several photos posted on social media show the world no. 1 taking part in public events without a mask on that day as well as the next.

Meanwhile, Czech tennis player Renata Voracova, who was detained on Thursday after the Australian authorities canceled her visa, left Australia on Saturday.

Voracova, who had been in Australia since December and had already played in a match before her visa was canceled, had obtained a medical exemption to enter the country as she was not fully vaccinated.

Vaccination is mandatory to enter Australia, but there are a handful of reasons that an exemption can be granted, including an acute medical condition such as undergoing major surgery or a serious adverse event attributed to a previous dose of a Covid-19 vaccine. EFE


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