Justice for Doha mall fire victims?

  • 23/11/2015
The Weekes triplets (File)
The Weekes triplets (File)

Five people acquitted of involuntary manslaughter over the Doha mall fire that left Kiwi triplets dead could soon face the country's highest appeals court.

Qatar's Attorney General Ali bin Fetais al Marri has instructed prosecutors to appeal last month's court verdict that saw all the defendants in the Villaggio Mall fire trial acquitted, Doha News reports.

The 2012 fire left 19 people dead, including 13 children, among them New Zealand-born two-year-old triplets Lillie, Jackson and Willsher Weekes, who were being looked after at the mall's Gympanzee daycare centre.

Last month, the Court of Appeal overturned the convictions against five defendants who had previously been found guilty of involuntary manslaughter by the country's lower criminal court.

The decision was heavily criticised by the triplets' parents Martin and Jane Weekes, who slammed the judicial system as "not fit for purpose".

However, news this week suggests the families may yet see the defendants convicted.

The attorney general has ordered that the case now be sent to Qatar's highest court, the Court of Cassation.

The Cassation prosecutor was told to prepare a document that outlines the reasons for the Appeal Court verdict and then present it to the attorney general and the Court of Cassation, Doha News reported.

This court could uphold the appeal courts decision, issue its own decision if judges consider the law was not properly applied, or order a new trial at the Court of Appeal.

Doha News said the development was being cautiously welcomed by some of the relatives of those killed.

NZN