Triplets' death playing second fiddle

NICOLE PRYOR
Last updated 13:51 08/02/2013
the Weekes triplets
TRAGIC LOSS: The Weekes triplets.

Relevant offers

Middle East

Yemeni senior intelligence official kidnapped Pope Francis's Christmas Eve call to Iraqi refugees War in Syria damages 290 heritage sites: UN The true story of 'Maya', the CIA analyst who hunted down Osama bin Laden Yazidis cheer on Iraqi mountain as Islamic Siege broken US plumber's truck in the hands of Syrian jihadists Aussie jets drop more than 100 Iraq bombs Air strikes kill IS group leaders in Iraq After school attack, Pakistan vows to pursue militants outside its borders A trail of carnage is seen inside Pakistan army school after massacre

The father of New Zealand triplets killed in the Doha Mall fire last year is concerned the trial to find responsibility for the fire was instead focusing on what he saw as a side issue.

The court is considering the distinction between whether the Gympanzee centre in the Villagio Mall was a "nursery" or a "daycare centre", because it could indicate whether the owners were guilty of negligence.

But Martin Weekes, father of triplets Lillie, Jackson and Willsher who died in the fire last May, said this part of the trial was "irrelevant".

"This trial is supposed to be about why 13 children and six adults were killed in Qatar's busiest shopping mall on a quiet weekday, in order to ensure it never happens again," he said.

"Instead we end up missing the real issues in an irrelevant debate focusing on whether Gympanzee was operating as a nursery or a daycare."

He said the parents had contracts and certificates all stating Gympanzee was a nursery, signed by the owner Iman Al Kuwari.

"Jane knew Iman and she always referred to Gympanzee as a nursery or school," he said.

"Lillie, Jackson and Willsher would never have been there had she not endorsed its facilities, curriculum, and teachers."

He said the issue of the centre trading illegally should be a separate case, and it was disturbing the Qatari justice system was prioritising trading breach debates over health and safety problems.

Defence witnesses have told the trial the daycare centre they died in was not a nursery because no teaching took place there.

Doha News reported four defence witnesses told the court there was no blackboard, no chalk, and no teachers – children played with toys, coloured with crayons, and used play-dough.

Last month, parents of the children showed the court documents, such as receipts, monthly contracts and photos of signage, where Gympanzee referred to itself as a nursery, said the Doha News.

Ad Feedback

- Stuff

Special offers

Featured Promotions

Sponsored Content