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Oz couple served legal docs via Facebook

Tracked to social networking site

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An Australian couple who allegedly defaulted on a AU$100,000 loan and face having their house repossessed have been tracked down on Facebook, the BBC reports.

Canberra lawyer Mark McCormack asked a judge to allow legal papers to be served to an email address he found on the woman's Facebook account. She and her partner - listed as a "friend" on the social networking site - had previously failed to respond to correspondence sent to their home address and via email. They also failed to attend a court hearing on 3 October.

McCormack argued in the Australian Capital Territory Supreme Court that details on the Facebook page, including the woman's date of birth, proved she was the "person in question". A judge agreed, but "stipulated that the papers be sent via a private email so that other people visiting the page could not read their contents".

McCormack said: "It's somewhat novel, however we do see it as a valid method of bringing the matter to the attention of a defendant."

The BBC notes that while Oz courts have in the past allowed "legally binding" documents to be served via email or "even text message", this is the first time Facebook has been deployed as a legal tool.

The site has of late proved rather useful Down Under in bringing ne'er-do-wells to justice. A Melbourne restaurant owner recently used it to nail a group of bill-dodgers who'd done a runner from his upmarket establishment. ®

Note to wannabe fugitives from justice...

Rule 1: Disable your Facebook account.

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