NEWS ARTICLES - THE LIAM MAGILL CASE
Paternity fraud 'dad' loses appeal
The Age, Australia, November 9, 2006
A man who sued his former wife after paying child support for two children fathered by his wife's lover today lost his appeal to the High Court.
The judges unanimously ruled that the case for paternity fraud brought by Liam Neale Magill failed.
Three judges held that no action for deceit could lie in representations about paternity made between spouses.
Three other judges held that there could be circumstances in which such an action might succeed but they were exceptional and did not cover Mr Magill's situation.
However, the court also rejected an argument put by Mr Magill's former wife Meredith that the Family Law Act ruled out any action for deceit. more..
Husband loses 'duped' child support claim
The Sydney Morning Herald, Australia, by Tim Dick, November 9, 2006
A man who claimed he was duped into supporting his wife's two
children has lost his claim for damages against his wife for supporting
Dad in kid mix-up gets big legal bill
The Border Mail, November 7, 2006
A MELBOURNE man who paid child support for children who turned out
not to be his has now been ordered to pay “massive” legal costs to the
No child support compo for duped dad
The Australian, By Kate Lahey, October 31, 2006
A MELBOURNE man who paid child support for eight years for two
children who were not his own has lost a bid for compensation for
DUPED FATHER RESUMES FIGHT
The Weekend Australian, October 14/15 2006, by Natasha Robinson
Is Paternity Fraud The Perfect Crime?
by Tony Zizza, 1 June 2005
You know the absolute destruction of "right and wrong" is complete when the global problem of paternity fraud appears to be just a matter of judicial bias and fodder for escapist television shows like Desperate Housewives.
So, what is paternity fraud? Paternity fraud occurs when a mother goes, to borrow a phrase from Carnell Smith, Director of Citizens Against Paternity Fraud, "man shopping." That is, a mother purposefully lies about who her child's biological father is. And what's the purpose of this? The mother receives/maintains a higher child support award than the real father can provide. more...
Channel 7 - Today Tonight
Divorce and child maintenance
REPORTER: Rodney Lohse, BROADCAST DATE: 17 March 2005
Liam Magill tried to sue his ex-wife for $70,000 after DNA tests revealed two of their children were not his. But the courts had ruled she did nothing wrong
When Liam Magill's marriage to his wife, Meredith, ended in 1992, he was devastated.
He not only lost a marriage but also three children. more...
Appeal blow for man who paid maintenance for another's children
The Age, by Peter Gregory, Chief court reporter, March 18, 2005
A man who was awarded $70,000 damages after discovering he had been
paying maintenance for another man's children was in "total disbelief"
last night after his ex-wife successfully appealed against the award.
Man loses paternity payout
AAP, 17 March 2005
A man who sued his unfaithful ex-wife for falsely claiming two of their three children were his has lost his damages payout on appeal in Melbourne today. The Victorian Court of Appeal today ruled there was no evidence to show the woman intended to make false representations on the children's birth certificates.
Liam Magill, 54, was awarded $70,000 in damages and costs against his former wife Meredith Magill, 37, by the Victorian County Court in November 2002.
Mrs Magill appealed against the decision.
Justice Frank Callaway today said there was no evidence on which the County Court judge could find Mrs Magill intended her husband to rely on the birth certificates to establish his paternity.
Court reverses child support damages decision
ABC News Online, 17 March 2005
A Victorian court has reversed a decision, which awarded damages to a man who paid child support for two children that a paternity test revealed were not his.
In 2002 the County Court ordered the wife of 52-year-old Liam Magill pay him $70,000 for general damages and economic loss for child support he paid for two children he did not father.
It found the law of deceit applied because Mr Magill was falsely led to believe he was the father of the woman's two younger children.
The court heard Meredith Magill had been having an affair when her second and third children were conceived.
Today the Victorian Supreme Court upheld her appeal against damages.
Justice Jeffrey Eames found Mrs Magill did not wholly set out to deceive her husband despite an admission she suspected one of the children might not be his when she nominated him as the father on an application for child support
Channel 7 TV, REPORTER: Rodney Lohse, BROADCAST DATE: 17 March 2005
Liam Magill tried to sue his ex-wife for $70,000 after DNA tests revealed two of their children were not his. But the courts have ruled she did nothing wrong.
When Liam Magill's marriage to his wife, Meredith, ended in 1992, he was devastated.
He not only lost a marriage but also three children.
At times his take home pay was reduced to just $130 a week.
But a DNA test revealed that Mr Magill was not in fact the biological father of the two youngest children. They were fathered by Meredith's secret lover.
"When I heard the results I was struck dumb, I could not speak, I could not function," Mr Magill said.
"I personally found it very hard to get my head around that the kids I watched be born – even one of them might not be mine," he said. "I can't explain to people how that is, it is something you can't explain to people."
Depressed by his wife's deceit, Mr Magill was unable to continue work as a public servant
"The little girl wasn't mine either, Bonnie is a beautiful kid, she used to look after me," Mr Magill said.
Supported by his new partner, Cheryl, Mr Magill took the unprecedented step and sued his former wife for deceit.
In a landmark decision three years ago a county court judge ordered Meredith Magill to pay her ex-husband $70,000 in compensation for pain, suffering, and loss of income.
But that was not the end of it. Meredith appealed and it went before the Supreme Court
The Court of Appeal found in favour of Meredith and she will not have to pay the $70,000.
Mr Magill has been left with a big legal bill and he has to pay his ex-wife's legal costs.
Vivian Mavropolous, Mr Magill's lawyer, said that the best way she can describe it is harsh.
Mr Magill's whole case hinged on the claim he was a victim of fraud and that he was tricked into signing birth registrations.
But the court found that while Meredith was having an affair, and suspected that Mr Magill might not be the father to at least one of the children, she did not intend to deceive him and therefore it was not fraud.
Cheryl King, Mr Magill's partner said that if people are not outraged by the fact that this is acceptable then what else could they think.
"It's really not acceptable as far as this type of deceit being allowed to go ahead," she said.
Court overturns paternity case
The Age, Australia, March 17, 2005
Sunday Herald Sun
Wronged dad may withdraw
Melbourne, Australia, By: KELVIN HEALEY, 6 June 2004
A MAN who successfully sued his wife for paternity fraud may have to walk away from the continuing legal battle because he is broke.
Liam Magill sued his former wife Meredith and was awarded $70,000 damages in a landmark decision after DNA
tests proved he was not the father of two of their three children. His ex-wife appealed the decision and the
appeal is likely to be heard in the Supreme Court later this year.
Man sues former wife over children
The Age, Australia, By Ian Munro, 15 November 2002,
Three years after he and his wife separated, Liam Magill found what he said was the first hint that he was not the father of all their children.
While caring for their three children during his estranged wife's illness in August, 1995, he read an entry in her diary that revealed Meredith "Pat" Magill believed a family friend had fathered their second child. more...
ABC TV News show 7:30
DNA and paternity case may set mammoth precedent
KERRY O'BRIEN: First, a ticklish issue about DNA and paternity -- one that will exercise the Victorian County Court later this year and could set a precedent in family law around Australia.
A Melbourne man is suing his ex-wife for fraud and damages after he discovered what he will allege she had known all along -- that he was not the father of their two children.
The case highlights the growing role that DNA testing is playing in determining Family Court disputes.
But some people -- including the Federal Government and the Australian Medical Association -- are questioning the ethics and motives of companies that have started offering cheap, quick tests that clients can buy on mail order. more...
"SOMEONE must write this story," the letter began
The Sunday Telegraph, July 9, 2000
After eight years of paying maintenance, John Jackson* discovered two of the three children he watched born during his four year marriage were, in fact, fathered by other men.
The proof is in lab tests which show "the exclusion of Mr. Jackson as father of his two youngest children “is considered 100 percent.”
Other evidence suggests his ex wife knew with certainty her middle child was fathered by another man and did not believe her husband was the father of the youngest child.
Mr. Jackson says he was forced into having his children DNA tested because he was being bled dry. At one point, because of a Child Support Agency error, he was paying out $550 and left $260 a fortnight to live on. more..
The following newspaper articles have been provided for a documented history of events.
Similar cases are also shown to create awareness of this growing problem.