Doha parents' patience wearing thin

By Hana Garrett-Walker

Lillie, Jackson and Willsher Weekes, the New Zealand triplets who died in a Doha mall fire. Photo / Supplied
Lillie, Jackson and Willsher Weekes, the New Zealand triplets who died in a Doha mall fire. Photo / Supplied

The parents of New Zealand triplets killed in a fire at a Doha childcare centre say their patience is wearing thin after a criminal hearing to determine responsibility for the deadly blaze was again postponed.

A criminal hearing to determine responsibility for the deaths in the Villaggio mall fire almost six months ago was postponed on Tuesday after the owners of the Gympanzee daycare centre failed to show up for the fourth time, Doha News reported.

New Zealand 2-year-old triplets Lillie, Jackson and Willsher Weekes were among 13 children and four teachers who died in the mall fire, which started in a shop and spread to their childcare centre.

The court hearing was postponed for the fourth time on Tuesday following the no-show, but the court was asked to proceed with the case despite the absence of Iman Al Kuwari, the owner of the daycare centre.

Doha News reported that the judges said they would send police to summon Al Kuwari to the court when the case returns on November 29.

One court official told Doha News that it would be the last time Al Kuwari could be tried "amicably" for the hearing.

After that, she loses the chance to mount a defence, the official said.

The triplets' father, Martin Weekes, said he was angry and disappointed that Al Kuwari failed to show the judicial system and families of the victims the common courtesy to show up.

"The delay in the legal system is beginning to shed an unfavourable light on the country and the courts."

The delay was prolonging the victims' families pain and grief, he said, and their patience was wearing thin.

"We call upon the Qatar Government to put an end to this insult and injustice.

"Once again, families and representatives from our governments attended court. We have continued to show more respect to the judicial system than some of the defendants."

- APNZ

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