Djokovic admits attending interview while Covid positive
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The judge presiding over Novak Djokovic’s directions hearing adjourned the court for five minutes after appearing to grow irritated with a request from the defence. The world No 1 had his visa cancelled by Immigration Minister Alex Hawke on Friday but his lawyers are preparing to formally file for an appeal after the directions hearing, held to determine the next steps of the case. An official appeal hearing has now been set for Sunday with Djokovic set to be detained tomorrow, but his lawyers took issue with the detainment happening at a location disclosed to the public.
In a directions hearing on Friday night local time, Djokovic’s lawyers set out their plans to appeal the Immigration Minister’s decision to cancel his visa.
Stephen Lloyd, representing minister Alex Hawke, agreed to the timetable laid out by the defence, expecting to have their final submissions filed by 12pm AEDT on Saturday and suggesting that the Immigration Minister has by 10pm.
Mr Lloyd also confirmed that the world No 1 would not be deported until the proceedings were completed.
Judge Anthony Kelly outlined the timetable for Djokovic to be detained on Saturday following an interview at the Immigration offices at 8am local time, spend a period between 10am-2pm at his lawyers’ offices – where he is classed as being detained if border force officials are present on the same floor of the building – and spend the evening in a detention hotel before being taken back to his lawyers’ offices for a hearing on Sunday.
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All parties agreed to this schedule, but Djokovic’s lawyers took issue with the fact that the 20-time Major champion was set to be detained at the Immigration offices on Saturday morning following his interview.
Nick Wood, part of the world No 1’s defence, raised what he said was a “legitimate concern” that there would be a media frenzy at Immigration offices after it was publicly disclosed in the hearing as the location for Djokovic’s detainment on Saturday.
“We have a genuine concern about security and a potential media circus to be frank,” he told Judge Kelly, suggesting both parties privately agree on an undisclosed location for the nine-time Aussie Open champion to be detained.
But as it was nearing 11pm local time on Friday night, the judge sounded tetchy as he asked Mr Wood whether he had considered “on mature reflection the obviousness of that circus might have occurred to everyone before 10.55pm on Friday”.
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He added: “Don’t put this at my feet.”
As the defence appeared to request Judge Kelly’s assistance in agreeing a private location for Djokovic to be detained with Mr Lloyd, he again grew irritable and adjourned the court for five minutes to allow both parties to agree on a location.
“You can’t ask me to broker this,” he told Djokovic’s defence before leaving the courtroom.
After more than ten minutes, the hearing resumed as the Serb’s lawyer confirmed they had agreed a location privately for his client to be detained on Saturday, ahead of the hearing on Sunday.
Mr Wood also informed the judge that both parties agreed he should admend the order regarding Djokovic’s interview and detainment to say it will occur at the Immigration offices or “any other location agreed between the parties”.
The hearing was adjourned shortly after as Judge Kelly confirmed he would on Saturday publish the reasons regarding how all parties came to the agreement for the upcoming proceedings.
Meanwhile, it was announced that the top half of the mens’ draw at the Australian Open would be opening play on Monday.
It means that, if Djokovic is to win his appeal once again, he will have less than 24 hours out of detainment before taking to the court to defend his Australian Open title.
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