Melbourne: Online social networking site Facebook can also be used to serve legal notices on those evading court hearing, an Australian judge has ruled.
An Adelaide court ordered that Facebook be used for sending legal documents on an elusive alleged father involved in a child support dispute.
The federal magistrate, Stewart Brown, said the case was unusual but "demonstrative of social movements and the currency of the times".
The accused, Howard, had a brief relationship with a woman who later gave birth. The father`s name was not mentioned in the birth certificate and the mother`s child support application was rejected for lack of legal proof of paternity.
The mother`s counsel repeatedly wrote to Howard, asking him to have a paternity test, but there was no response. Letters sent care of his parents and current girlfriend also elicited no reply.
When the magistrate was told that Howard was a regular user of Facebook, he ordered that the documents be served electronically, The Age reported.
The judge said he was satisfied Howard had been properly served with the documents and inferred that he wanted no involvement with the proceedings because "the parentage test can have only one outcome... he is (the child`s) father".
Howard shut down his account on Facebook and his MySpace website after the documents were sent.