Doha mall fire owners avoid jail, pay 'blood money'

A Qatar judge has ordered "blood money" be paid to the families who lost loved ones in Doha mall fire in 2012 - including the New Zealand Weekes' triplets - but those responsible will not go to jail.

On the eve of the fourth anniversary of the deadly Villaggio Mall fire Doha News is reporting a judge has decided none of the five managers and complex owners will serve jail time.

Instead they will be punished by paying what is known as "blood money" compensation to the families of the 19 victims. Under Islamic Sharia law, financial compensation is paid to the victim or relatives of the victim in cases of murder, bodily harm or property damage.

The victims included of 2-year-old New Zealand triplets Lillie, Willsher and Jackson Weekes who died when fire ripped through the Gympanzee childcare centre in the mall.

None of the defendants or relatives of those who died were present when the verdict was delivered in the Court of Appeal.

Four defendants had previously been found guilty of involuntary manslaughter by Qatar's lower criminal court in June 2013.

They included the co-owners of Gympanzee and the Villaggio chairman and manager.

All were sentenced to six years in prison.

A municipal worker was sentenced to five years in jail for providing a forged licence to the childcare centre.

However, all the defendants appealed their sentence and were exonerated last October after a judge ruled several pieces of evidence and witness testimony were inadmissible.

But Qatar's highest court, the Court of Cassation, said in February the judge applied the law incorrectly and ordered a retrial at the Court of Appeal.

Doha News reported the judge said he would "punish them once more" by ordering the four owners and manager to jointly pay QR200,000 - around NZ$80,000 - in blood money to relatives of each victim.

The mall's insurance company was also required to contribute funds.

Doha News said some families had already received payment after compensation was ordered by the lower criminal court judge in 2013.

The municipal worker had his sentence reduced to a one-year suspended sentence.

- NZ Herald

Get the news delivered straight to your inbox

Receive the day’s news, sport and entertainment in our daily email newsletter

SIGN UP NOW

© Copyright 2016, NZME. Publishing Limited

Assembled by: (static) on production apcf03 at 25 Sep 2016 17:51:25 Processing Time: 634ms