January 23, 2022

The World Live Breaking News Coverage & Updates IN ENGLISH

The World Live Breaking News Coverage & Updates IN ENGLISH

Novak Djokovic latest news: Tennis star’s Australian Open hopes in the balance as visa appeal hearing starts

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, Novak Djokovic latest news: Tennis star’s Australian Open hopes in the balance as visa appeal hearing starts, The World Live Breaking News Coverage & Updates IN ENGLISH
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, Novak Djokovic latest news: Tennis star’s Australian Open hopes in the balance as visa appeal hearing starts, The World Live Breaking News Coverage & Updates IN ENGLISH

, Novak Djokovic latest news: Tennis star’s Australian Open hopes in the balance as visa appeal hearing starts, The World Live Breaking News Coverage & Updates IN ENGLISH

An Australian judge has ordered that Novak Djokovic be allowed to leave the Melbourne hotel in which he is being detained so that he can watch a live stream of his visa hearing.

There continue to be widespread technical issues affecting the court case, and judge Anthony Kelly has asked for government assistance to facilitate the Serbian’s safe transport to and from his hotel.

The tennis star was denied entry into Australia on Thursday after authorities said he did not meet Covid-19 vaccination requirements.

He was subsequently taken to the Park Hotel, a quarantine facility in Melbourne after being held at the city’s airport overnight, and was told he would be removed from the country. 

Djokovic’s legal team have said he had received an assessment by email from Australia’s Department of Home Affairs indicating his responses on a travel declaration form met the requirements for quarantine-free entry. 

The team argued that Djokovic’s claim of a positive PCR test in December means he meets the criteria for a vaccine exemption under the guidance of Australia’s immunisation advisory body.

However, a government submission made public on Sunday said the correspondence was not an assurance “that his so-called ‘medical exemption’ would be accepted”.

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4:10AM

Lunchtime summary

  • The judge hearing Djokovic’s legal challenge to the Australian government’s decision to revoke his entry visa raised concerns about the Serbian’s treatment after he was detained on arrival.
  • The Serbian men’s world number one is now allowed to leave his detention hotel in order to watch proceedings – which have been plagued with technical issues.
  • Djokovic’s lawyers have argued that if he was simply given more time, this situation could have been avoided – but border officials made him switch off his phone, so he could not contact anyone about his detention.
  • The government has laid out a short summary of what will come next. This includes how procedural fairness was not denied.
3:50AM

Scene at the Park Hotel

Judge Anthony Kelly has ordered that Novak Djokovic be allowed to leave his detention hotel so that he can watch proceedings. It is not clear where he may go, as many venues have strict ‘no jab, no entry’ requirements.

One option would be his solicitor’s offices. They have a ‘no jab, no entry’ policy – but do allow for medical exemptions. Given that is what they are arguing for their client, it seems the most likely destination.

There is already a large scrum outside the hotel in anticipation of Djokovic’s departure.

3:23AM

Djokovic and science – in his own words

While the court has adjourned, there is time to look at the men’s world number one tennis player and his relationship with science.

3:04AM

Court adjourned for late lunch

The court has adjourned until 3:15pm local time – which is an hour and a quarter from now.

The government will continue to make their case when they return.

3:00AM

Government uses previous cases as examples

Government lawyers going through previous case history. Judge Kelly is listening intently to each case that Mr Tran brings up. They’re into the minutiae of the rules, but in a moment of light relief, Mr Tran said: “I think it will be useful for your honour to consider two cases – both of them losses of mine – so I’ll be revisiting happy memories.

2:43AM

Was Djokovic ‘pressured’ by border officials?

Mr Tran starts off by saying that while he accepts there’s evdience Djokovic felt pressured during his discussions with authorities, he cannot find that any officer intended to pressure Djokovic.

Judge Kelly says that he would be “most reluctant on the available evidence” to suggest an actual intention to pressure, but it doesn’t “kill the point” that Djokovic felt pressured.

He says over a period of about eight hours, delegates were “darting in and out” of the interview room, which was being recorded, so Djokovic could have felt pressured.

However, he adds: “I would be most reluctant to impugn a decision maker.”

2:33AM

Djokovic lawyers make closing arguments

Mr Wood says that Djokovic’s release from detention might not be necessary if the visa cancellation decision is quashed, because then the visa “jumps up like a jack in the box”.

Government lawyer Christopher Tran will now speak for 30 minutes before lunch.

2:25AM

Live stream back up

Mr Wood is saying that Djokovic should have been given time to speak to his representatives before the visa was cancelled. “There was no reason, no intelligible reason, not to allow him that more time,” he said.

“Irrespecitve of questions of fairness, the conduct of the delegate and the officers was unreasonable.”

1:51AM

Djokovic to be moved – reports

It appears that Djokovic is also having a difficult time getting the live stream to work. It is now being reported that Judge Kelly has just ordered the government to take the quarantined player to a loction specified by his solicitor so he can watch the hearing.

The irony is, as our Perth-based correspondent Giovanni Torre has pointed out – it probably won’t be his solicitor’s office,  because Hall & Wilcox has a “no vax, no entry” policy.

1:39AM

What we have heard so far

The live feed is still not working, so here is a quick summary of this morning’s hearing:

he judge hearing Novak Djokovic’s legal challenge to the Australian government’s decision to revoke the star tennis player’s entry visa has raised several concerns about how the Serbian was treated by border officials on arrival.

Judge Anthony Kelly said it appeared Djokovic had received the required medical exemption before he travelled to Australia and presented evidence of that on his arrival at Melbourne’s airport on Wednesday evening.

“The point that I am somewhat agitated about is what more could this man have done?” Kelly said as Djokovic’s lawyers outlined their case challenging the federal government’s decision to revoke the player’s visa at the airport.

, Novak Djokovic latest news: Tennis star’s Australian Open hopes in the balance as visa appeal hearing starts, The World Live Breaking News Coverage & Updates IN ENGLISH

Djokovic supporters outside Melbourne’s federal court building

Credit:
 Alex MURRAY / AFP

Exchanges between Kelly and Djokovic’s lawyer Nicholas Wood also revealed that officials made the world number one switch off his phone from midnight to around 7.42 a.m. local time, when the decision to cancel his visa was made. Officials reneged on an agreement to give him until 8.30 a.m. to speak to tournament organiser Tennis Australia, Wood said, and dissuaded him from waiting to speak to lawyers.

Wood said Djokovic had clearly declared he had a medical contraindication that exempted him from the requirement to be double vaccinated and, even though he was not required to, had provided evidence to support that claim both before boarding his flight to Australia and on arrival.

1:26AM

What Nadal said

There was, of course, another way this could have all been avoided: Djokovic could have been vaccinated like the vast majority of the world’s best tennis players.

Earlier this week, Rafael Nadal, who has won 20 grand slam singles titles, didn’t offer much sympathy to his Serbian counterpart.

Andy Murray, meanwhile, has said that Djokovic’s deportation saga is “really bad” for tennis.

, Novak Djokovic latest news: Tennis star’s Australian Open hopes in the balance as visa appeal hearing starts, The World Live Breaking News Coverage & Updates IN ENGLISH
1:09AM

Djokovic’s record in Australia

 While the feed is still down, here is Djokovic’s record at the Australian Open.

The stakes are high for the men’s world number one. If he is allowed to stay in Australia, play in the tournament and go on to win, it would put him clear of Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer in grand slam singles titles.

It would also be one of the most remarkable sporting stories of all time. At the moment, his fate is being decided in a courtroom in Melbourne, while he is locked down in a refugee detention centre nearby.

12:52AM

Connection fails again

There appears to be another widespread connection issue. The live feed has stalled.

12:50AM

Djokovic was left ‘incommunicado’

The Serbian’s lawyers are saying that this could have all been avoided if the time was taken to speak with Tennis Australia and the other relevant authorities.

Djokovic arrived at 4am and told officials that if there was a problem, it could be addressed as he had been told he was clear to enter the country.

However, his visa was cancelled within the next four hours and Djokovic was taken to a refugee hotel. 

12:44AM

Djokovic lawyers appealing to judge

“Djokovic ticked every single box,” says his lawyer. His application was assessed and he was allowed entry to Australia, Mr Wood added.

“What emerges with utmost clarity from a transcript of Mr Djokovic’s interviews at the airport was a repeated appeal to officers that he had done absolutely everything he understood was required of him to enter Australia.”

Djokovic then had his phone taken and could not speak to his team or his lawyers. He repeatedly pleaded to provide officials with any information that they needed.

12:36AM

What more could he have done?

Judge Kelly makes a strong statement in favour of Djokovic.

“A relatively significant fact, particularly in the context of cancellation of a visa once a person has arrived, that here, a professor and an eminently qualified physician have produced and provided to the applicant a medical exemption,” he said.

“The point I’m agitated about is: What more could this man have done?” says the judge.

12:31AM

Back in session

Nick Wood to Judge Kelly: “It is manifestly not the case that Mr Djokovic breached the biosecurity determination…Mr Djokovic provided evidence (of his exemption) both before and after boarding his plane.”

The judge is now scolding people on the call for not turning off their microphones. Appearing aware of the technical issues, he said that there is: “A very real risk that the bandwith available for this hearing will be overwhelmed and interruppted. That is utterly unacceptable.”

12:25AM

Proceedings could last longer than expected

It appears that Djokovic’s lawyers want to continue their arguments for another two-and-a-half hours.

The court has now briefly adjourned.

12:19AM

Djokovic provided medical evidence, say lawyers

“Not only was Djokovic doing his best to provide material to the officer,” Djokovic’s lawyer says of the relevant health documents, he also did so “before he boarded the aircraft.”

The Telegraph’s chief sports writer Oliver Brown is in Australia watching the drama unfold. He has tweeted this update:

12:05AM

Visa cancellation notice ‘defective’ say Djokovic lawyers

Djokovic’s lawyers are arguing that the notice of the intention to cancel the Serbian’s visa was “defective.”

Nick Wood says the delegate must be satisfied of a relevant ground for cancellation, but the notice is defective because it’s not one ground, but a mashup of two. He says the reasons for refusal are a “confusing blend of grounds”.

11:57PM

Hearing begins

There are still major technical issues, but information is trickling out.

The key players today are Nick Wood SC and Paul Holdenson QC for Novak Djokovic and Christpher Tran for Home Affairs Minister Karen Andrews (& the Comonwealth).

The judge, Anthony Kelly,  is asking Djokovic’s legal team about the notices given to him about the intention to cancel his visa.

11:38PM

The scene in Melbourne

Novak Djokovic is not be in court for the hearing. He is still in detention at the Park Hotel which currently has a number of police officers outside, as well as a group of protesters.

The Telegraph understands that the hearing has now begun, but that no-one outside the courtroom can gain access to the live feed.

We will bring you all the updates as they come.

, Novak Djokovic latest news: Tennis star’s Australian Open hopes in the balance as visa appeal hearing starts, The World Live Breaking News Coverage & Updates IN ENGLISH

Victorian Police officers stand guard outside of the Park hotel government immigration facility in Melbourne

Credit:
JAMES ROSS/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock 

, Novak Djokovic latest news: Tennis star’s Australian Open hopes in the balance as visa appeal hearing starts, The World Live Breaking News Coverage & Updates IN ENGLISH

Police arresting refugee advocates outside the Park Hotel

Credit:
AP Photo/Mark Baker

11:12PM

Connection issues

The hearing hasn’t started yet because of technical issues with the Melbourne court’s live stream.

In the meantime, here are some of the Telegraph’s best articles on this remarkable episode down under.

10:59PM

Support for Djokovic from Nigel Farage

Nigel Farage, the former Brexit Party leader is in Belgrade with the Djokovic family as they await the start of the hearing.

He has expressed his outrage at the Serb’s detention, saying: “If they can do this to the world’s No 1 tennis player, just think what they could do to you.”

10:55PM

What to expect

Novak Djokovic has had many a winning day on the court, but now faces an almighty battle in court, as he fights to remain in Melbourne to compete in the Australian Open.

The unvaccinated Serb had his visa revoked on arrival to Australia last week and he has spent the last four nights at a notorious Melbourne immigration detention facility.

The 34-year-old’s lawyers will tell the court he should be allowed to remain in Australia because a recent second Covid infection made him exempt from vaccine entry requirements.

Government lawyers reject that argument saying Djokovic failed to meet the medical criteria as his illness was not “acute,” according to a filing late on Sunday.

They will seek to have his appeal dismissed with costs, paving the way for his deportation as soon as Monday evening.

The online federal court hearing is scheduled to start at 10:00 am (2300 GMT Sunday).

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