Today, August 6, marks the 32nd anniversary of the passing of the Status of Children Act 1976. At the time, this Act abolished the distinction between children born in or out of wedlock. From that date onward, children born out of wedlock had the same status and priveleges as children born of married parents. The Act also made provision for blood tests to establish paternity.
This law, first enacted in 1976, made all children equal in status, irrespective of whether their parents are or have been married to each other. It gave rise to the popular 1970s song which said, “no bastards no deh again”.
The law provides that where in civil proceedings, it becomes necessary to determine the paternity of any person, the court may on the application of a party to the proceedings direct that blood tests be used to determine whether a party to the proceedings is or is not excluded from being the father of the subject.
If for the purpose of giving effect to the court’s direction, a person were to impersonate another, or puts forward a child knowing that the child is not the child that the court has given the direction about, that person may be charged and tried in a Resident Magistrate’s Court for the impersonation. If convicted, the individual may be sentenced to a term of imprisonment not exceeding twelve months. However, if the Resident Magistrate wishes to impose a fine, the maximum fine is five hundred dollars. Strange isn’t it…this question of the fine?