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N Zealand court serves papers through Facebook

A New Zealand judge today approved the serving of court documents through the social networking website Facebook on a man being sued over his business dealings. High Court associate justice David Glendall approved the serving of legal papers on Craig Axe, who is alleged to have taken 241,000 dollars (126,300 US) from his family's market garden company account.

world Updated: Mar 16, 2009 13:47 IST

A New Zealand judge on Monday approved the serving of court documents through the social networking website Facebook on a man being sued over his business dealings.

High Court associate justice David Glendall approved the serving of legal papers on Craig Axe, who is alleged to have taken 241,000 dollars (126,300 US) from his family's market garden company account.

Axe was believed to be in Britain but had been corresponding by email and was known to have a site on Facebook, the court in Wellington was told.

Daniel Vincent, the lawyer for the family company who requested the use of Facebook, said there had been difficulties serving the papers, informing Axe that he is being sued, by conventional methods.

He told the New Zealand Press Association after the hearing he believed it was first time a court in this country had allowed papers to be served through Facebook.

The idea came from a case in Australia in December, when Facebook was used to serve a court order after a couple defaulted on a home loan.

Facebook was also used by police in the New Zealand tourist hub Queenstown in January to help identify a bungling burglar who removed his face mask as he tried unsuccessfully to break into the safe of a local bar.

Footage from a surveillance camera was posted on the site, leading to the burglar's identification and arrest.