10 Sep 2012

Hearings over fatal Doha mall fire delayed

10:43 pm on 10 September 2012

Hearings to find out who is to blame for a deadly fire in a Doha mall have stalled, because two of the three defendants failed to appear in court.

The blaze in the Villaggio Mall in May this year killed 19 people, including two-year-old triplets Lillie, Jackson and Willsher Weekes from New Zealand.

The owners of the mall turned up, but there was no representative from the local council, nor Gympanzee, the child care facility involved.

Radio New Zealand's correspondent in Doha says many aspects of the judicial process in Qatar are unclear, but he has read comments suggesting that defendants do not have to respond to the first two summons they receive but they must to the third.

The hearing has been delayed for one month.