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PATERNITY FRAUD CASE AUSTRALIA

Dudded dad wins OK for compo fight

Herald Sun, Australia, by Norrie Ross, law reporter, November 19, 2005

A MAN who found he was supporting two children he had not fathered can continue his fight for compensation.

Liam Magill, 54, hugged his current partner after the High Court yesterday granted him special leave to appeal against a ruling that he was not entitled to compensation.

During arguments in the case Justice Michael Kirby said the issues of parenthood were important in an age of DNA testing.

In March, the Victorian Court of Appeal stripped Mr Magill of a $70,000 County Court payout from his ex-wife, Meredith, on a legal technicality.

Mr Magill had said birth certificates shown to him by his ex-wife led him to believe he was the father of a daughter and son.

However, the appeal judges ruled the certificates only proved children had the surname Magill and his claim was legally too narrow.

Opposing a grant of special leave yesterday, Fiona McLeod SC, for Meredith Magill, said there was no evidence Mr Magill relied on the certificates.

But Justice Kirby said Mr Magill was a husband who had fathered another child to his ex-wife.

He had no grounds at the time to worry that he was the father of his other two children, the judge said.

In his lawsuit Mr Magill said DNA tests in 2000 showed two of his three children were fathered by his ex-wife's secret lover.

He said he had been deceived and suffered psychological and economic loss.

The High Court will hear the case in Canberra next year. Outside court Mr Magill's lawyer, Vivien Mavropoulos said the issue was very important for the community.

Herald and Weekly Times