The owner of the Doha childcare centre where 19 people died in a blaze, including New Zealand triplets, may be escorted by police to finally face a Qatari court.

A criminal hearing to determine responsibility for the deaths in the Villaggio mall fire almost six months ago was postponed yesterday 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.

Several defendants and families of the victims crowded into a courtroom in Al Sadd yesterday.


The court was asked to proceed with the case despite the absence of Iman Al Kuwari, 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.