Weekes want Govt action over Doha fire acquittals

Weekes want Govt action over Doha fire acquittals

The parents of triplets who died in a Doha mall fire three years ago say they're devastated that a Qatari judge has thrown out the convictions of five people.

Martin and Jane Weekes say there has been no justice for two-year-olds Lillie, Jackson and Wilsher and they want the Prime Minister to make good on a promise to help them.

It just takes a song coming on the radio and it all comes flooding back – the tragedy is not something the Weekes' will get over, but not every day is as painful as today.

They feared this day would come, when convictions over the deaths of their beloved triplets would be overturned.

"I think it highlights what the UN said in its report this year, which is Qatar seems to have different justice for different people, and we're suffering from the fact we're not the right people. That's why our children didn't get justice," says Ms Weekes.

The judge decided the Gympanzee nursery where Lillie, Jackson and Wisher, as well as 10 other toddlers and six teachers died, wasn't a nursery.

"Things like invoices from the nursery, advertising materials from the nursery, other information from the nursery, he threw that out. He said it wasn't admissible," says Ms Weekes.

"The families couldn't give evidence because we were also the plaintiffs. However the defendants could give evidence and therefore when nothing's contradicted, their evidence was accepted.

The judge even said staff at the nursery could have tried harder to escape.

"I think it's just incredibly disrespectful that 19 lives – and it's not just Lillie, Jackson and Wilsher – that 19 lives can be swept under the carpet. And the worst that comes out of it is a corporate entity gets given a $6000 fine. What does that say about justice?" says Mr Weekes.

Prime Minister John Key met the Emir of Qatar this year. Trade was on the agenda but so were the Weekes.

"He absolutely assured me that he wanted to see justice done," says Mr Weekes.

The Weekes say Mr Key also gave them those assurances in person during a chance encounter at an Auckland restaurant earlier this year.

"This wasn't the justice we were expecting. So I'd like to believe the New Zealand Government will actually pursue this."

The Prime Minister is out of the country but a statement from Foreign Minister Murray McCully expressed disappointment and concern no one was held to account. Embassy officials will make urgent enquiries about the next legal steps.

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