Wronged dad may withdraw
Sunday Herald Sun, Melbourne, Australia, By: KELVIN HEALEY, 6th 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.
But Mr Magill may not be able to defend the appeal because of the legal cost, meaning the Australian legal precedent would be overturned.
The 54-year-old pensioner sold his Croydon home to fund the initial legal action and revealed his only hope of finding the estimated $25,000 for the appeal was fundraising. It is the latest blow for Mr Magill, whose car was vandalised and burnt in March.
Mr Magill was too emotional to speak publicly this week, but his new partner, Cheryl King, said the situation was devastating.
"All we want to do is uphold the judgment, but unfortunately we have run out of money . . . it is a very winnable appeal but it costs money,'' Ms King said. "To date we have sold everything to fund five years of litigation. We have struggled through this, Legal Aid won't even help us. We simply can't afford to do this (but) we refuse to give up and are hanging in there by the threads of our pants.''
A former public servant, Mr Magill has not been able to work since 1999 after he plummeted into depression.
"This has affected him so badly, he is totally and permanently incapacitated,'' Ms King said.
The money from the original judgment remains locked in a trust fund until the appeal is determined.
The couple has began raising money in the hope the $25,000 target can be reached. Mr Magill met his former wife
in 1987, married her the following year and the couple separated by 1992.
DNA tests conducted in 2000 revealed the younger two of the three children had been fathered by a family friend.
Mr Magill's solicitor, Vivien Mavropoulos, said the 2002 County Court win had set an important legal precedent.
But the episode had caused irreversible affects on Mr Magill, she said. "It has had a devastating effect on him. There is no repair,'' Ms Mavropoulos said.