Friday 16th February, 1996
IN AN unprecedented landmark decision, a High Court judge has ruled that a Tobago man is not the biological father of a child borne by his wife during their marriage.
The dramatic judgment by Justice Shaffei Shah was made in favour of NeviIle Joseph, a professional printer, against his former wife, Ursula Joseph, of Easterfield Road, Mason Hall.
Before making his historic decision, the judge carefully considered the sworn affidavits of both parties and two respected doctors and a report from another.
Justice Shah declared that the plaintiff Neville Joseph is not the biological father of the child, Junior Neville Joseph, born on October 27, 1981, and that the relationship of father and son does not exist between them. No order was made for costs.
Neville Joseph was represented by attorney-at-law Martin George, while Wilbert Winchester appeared for the defendant.
Attorney George, commenting on the case, said it was novel and interesting the way in which Section 10 of the Status of Children Act, 1981, was used.
This section is normally used to prove or help establish a claim by a mother that the respondent is the father of her child.
However, in this case, said George, it was turned around and put to a new use to institute an action for an order for blood tests to be carried out to prove the man is not the father of a child.”
“I think this is the first such action to ever be brought and tried successfully before our High Courts.
“It has certainly broken new ground and opened up a whole new avenue in this area of jurisprudence with respect to the Status of Children and paternity declarations,” said George.
The order for the blood tests was made by Justice Lionel Jones and the results were surprising and weighed heavily in favour of Neville Joseph.
He was found to be blood type “0,” his wife had type “B” and the child tested positive for type “A.”
Dr Lance Austin, in his affidavit, said from his medical knowledge it was impossible for a man with type “0” and a woman with type “B” to
together produce a child with type “A.”
When confronted with the evidence, Ursula Joseph maintained that she never had sexual intercourse with anyone but the plaintiff.
When asked to explain how this could happen when medical science said it was impossible, the defendant said she did not know.
Another official report on blood tests prepared by Dr Waveney Charles, of the National Blood Transfusion Service, stated that an analysis of the results excludes Neville Joseph as the biological father and that the child must have inherited the gene for his “A” blood type from his true biological father.
Neville and Ursula were married in December, 1972, at the Scarborough Methodist Church but separated in March, 1985, after a stormy marriage.
Neville Joseph said he first became suspicious of the child not being his when he took him to the doctor for treatment.
“His nose was bleeding and when the tests came back it showed I could not give him blood because his type was different from mine,” said Joseph. However, he said he continued to perform the duties of a father maintaining and providing for him. Joseph said he decided to file a suit after his life became unbearable when people started talking behind his back.
Taken from: The Bomb Newspaper