Court serves paternity test order to Oz man through Facebook!

Friday, June 4, 2010

SYDNEY - An Australian man, who eluded requests to a paternity test, has finally been served after a court ordered the legal documents be sent through social networking site Facebook.

Federal magistrate, Stewart Brown, who made the order, said the Adelaide case was unusual but “demonstrative of social movements and the currency of the times”.

The man, known only as Howard, had a brief relationship with a woman who later gave birth, and when the mother sought an assessment of child support her application was rejected for lack of legal proof of paternity.

The mother’s solicitor repeatedly wrote to Howard asking him to undergo a paternity test, but he moved regularly and there was no reply.

Letters sent care of his parents and current girlfriend elicited no reply, and a process server had no success delivering the documents.

When Brown was told a private message could be left for Howard on Facebook, as he was a regular user, he ordered that the documents be served electronically.

In a recently published judgment, delivered in Adelaide, Brown said he was satisfied Howard had been properly served with the documents and inferred Howard wanted no involvement as “the parentage test can have only one outcome because he is the child’s father”.

After the documents were served Howard closed his Facebook profile and MySpace website.

But Brown found the mother was entitled to an assessment of child support, payable by Howard.

Tim Butcher, a senior lecturer at RMIT, said it was an example of creativity in the legal system.

“People are finding new ways to use social media every day,” the Sydney Morning Herald quoted him as saying.

“It’s only natural that courts, businesses, government agencies will use these tools to track us down. You have the world at your fingertips - but the flip side is that people can find us as well,” he added. (ANI)

Filed under: Facebook, MySpace, World

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