FHD Forensics and Genealogy For Justice set an important precedent for use of Investigative Genetic Genealogy to establish paternity
On December 19, 2023, in an Edmonton, Alberta King’s Bench trial, FHD Forensics and sister organization, Genealogy For Justice played a key role in an important precedent setting use of Investigative Genetic Genealogy to establish the paternity of a child born out of wedlock to a sex worker in the Philippines.
The paternity research was completed by an investigative genetic genealogist who has since partnered with Team FHD for work related to sex trafficking. Expert testimony on those results were provided by genetic genealogist Allison Peacock, founder of FHD Forensics and Advisory Board Chair at Genealogy For Justice.
The positive outcome for the child came after years of attempts to work with the biological father on the part of the child’s advocates at Hear Their Cries, an organization dedicated to stopping child rape and sexual abuse in the foreign aid and sexual tourism industries.
UK Soliciter Andrew MacLeod, Chairman of Griffin Law and Executive Director of Hear Their Cries testified eloquently about the innate sense of conviction he feels to bring justice, equity, and support to victims of sexual abuse and misconduct in impoverished and developing countries. He also outlined the ways the court’s ruling would impact the child’s life and bring a sense of identity and increased opportunities.
Like many courts around the world who are still grappling with this new forensic technique, detailed explanations of the genetic analysis were required in order to validate previously submitted affidavits by the witnesses present. Justice Marta Burns asked probing questions in order to better understand how the identity was made without a paternity test. Genealogist Peacock explained genetic networks and the unique genealogical event combining the father’s two previously unrelated distinct genetic networks through his parents’ marriage and childbirth.
In spite of the biological father’s obstruction of the trial process for years, attorney Max Blitt KC and co-counsel Himanshu Singal were able to tie together all of the evidence presented in the father’s absence for Justice Burns. Since the biological father refused in writing on multiple occasions to take a paternity test, the Court bypassed that requirement and found that he was indeed the father of the child and ordered him to provide financial disclosure for child support purposes.
Material support for the child to date has been provided by Angeles Relief Inc. an organization led by Australian journalist Margaret Simons, whose articles on the children of sex tourists in the Philippines attracted the attention of attorney MacLeod. Steps will now be taken to secure Canadian citizenship for the subject of the hearing, so that she has the opportunity to come to Canada, and ensure she is not part of an ongoing cycle of exploitation and victimization.
The entire team at FHD Forensics, Genealogy For Justice, Spier Harben Law, Hear Their Cries, and other advocates for this child celebrate her newfound potential to improve her life thanks to the tool of investigative genetic genealogy.