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The mother's solicitor repeatedly wrote to Mr 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.
But Mr Howard was a regular Facebook user. When Mr Brown was told a private message could be left for Mr Howard on Facebook, he ordered that the documents be served electronically.
In a recently published judgment, delivered in Adelaide, Mr Brown said he was satisfied Mr Howard had been properly served with the documents and inferred Mr Howard wanted no involvement as ''the parentage test can have only one outcome because he is [the child's] father''.
Mr Howard closed his Facebook profile and MySpace website after the documents were served. But Mr Brown found the mother was entitled to an assessment of child support, payable by Mr Howard.
It is believed to be only the second time in Australia that legal documents have been served via Facebook; a Canberra law firm used it in 2008 to serve notice of a judgment on two borrowers who defaulted on a loan.