World

Nick Philippoussis’ prognosis grim: DA

By AAP Newswire

A California judge has declined to dismiss the child sexual assault case against Australian tennis coach Nick Philippoussis after staunch opposition from the families of the two nine-year-old girls he allegedly molested.

Philippoussis, 68, suffered a massive stroke in San Diego County Jail last year that has left him bedridden and unable to communicate or respond to stimuli.

The physician treating Philippoussis has described his condition as "slightly comatose" and "a step above a vegetative state".

He may never face a trial.

"Although Philippoussis' prognosis is grim, the victims' family in this case is strongly opposed to dismissing the case at this time," San Diego Deputy District Attorney Garret Wong told AAP.

"The victims in this case are entitled to justice and we view a dismissal in this case at this time as premature and inappropriate given the circumstances."

Philippoussis' lawyer, Ryan Tegnelia, said it was "unlikely in the extreme" his client would recover from the stroke.

At a brief hearing in San Diego on Thursday Mr Wong asked for a six-month continuance and the judge agreed, scheduling a readiness conference for December 12.

A preliminary hearing date was also set for January 17.

Mr Wong said Philippoussis' condition has not had any meaningful improvement since the stroke and Philippoussis is not competent to proceed with the case at this time.

"Philippoussis' treating physician has informed us Philippoussis is conscious, but still non-ambulatory and unable to communicate," Mr Wong said.

"His condition is described as a 'slightly comatose' and 'a step above a vegetative state'."

Philippoussis is accused of molesting two nine-year-old girls he coached in San Diego and if convicted, faces a maximum life jail sentence.

He is charged with 14 counts including oral copulation/sexual penetration with a child under 10 years old and lewd acts upon a child.

He entered not guilty pleas before suffering the stroke.

Philippoussis, the father of former world top 10 Australian tennis star Mark Philippoussis, was arrested during a morning raid at his San Diego home in July and was held at San Diego County Jail until he suffered the stroke in November.

Mr Tegnelia said Philippoussis is able to open his eyes but he "does nothing but lie in bed and get fed".