Four former committee members of Happy Paws animal welfare society have been criticized by a magistrate for trying to abuse the justice system in a bid to harm the president of the society over personal issues.

Magistrate Francesco Depasquale made the comments in a civil libel suit that Vivien Buckley Palmer, Maria Peterson, Margaret Micallef and Margaret Higgins had filed against the charity and president Maike Beekman.

The four former members complained that an article that appeared on June 7, 2009 on the society's website was defamatory. The article said that the four ex-committee members had changed the lease contracts for two charity shops operated by Happy Paws which meant that no money was going to be forwarded to a clinic operated by the same charity. This happened after they had resigned from the charity.

In the judgment, the magistrate said that what was alleged in the article was true.

He said that the case was nothing but at an attempt to dirty the name of the president of the charity, Maike Beekman, by trying to abuse the judicial system to do so. This gives a bad name to other charitable organisations who did not fight their personal battles in public but sorted out their differences around a table.

The magistrate questioned the involvement of the four ex members in the charity because it seemed that they became members solely for their own benefit because as soon as there was a problem, they abandoned it and took two shops that the charity was dependent on.
He threw out the libel.

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