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Mum wants open trial into Doha mall fire

Friday 15 Mar 2013 1:43 p.m.

Martin and Jane Weekes  (file)

Martin and Jane Weekes (file)

The mother of Kiwi triplets killed in a mall blaze in Doha says victims' families are upset about their lack of voice in the trial of those responsible for the fire.

Two-year-old triplets Lillie, Jackson and Willsher Weekes were among 13 children who died in the Gympanzee daycare centre when a fire broke out in the Villaggio mall on May 28 last year, killing 19 people in all.

Witnesses finished giving evidence in the trial on Wednesday (local time) and closing arguments are expected to be heard in court later this month.

Contrary to the expectations of some victims' families, none of the defendants, who include the Gympanzee co-owners, four Villaggio mall officials and an employee of the ministry of business and trade, gave evidence.

In a comment on the Doha News website, Jane Weekes, the mother of the triplets, said the families of those killed in the daycare centre want the trial to be open and transparent, with all evidence presented.

"If this means the trial continues longer we fully support this to ensure those guilty are held accountable and that this type of tragedy doesn't happen again," she wrote.

"We are extremely upset and frustrated with the lack of voice the victims are being given compared to the rights of the defendants."

Ms Weekes said the families have not been allowed to have their own investigation conducted by international investigators to ensure impartiality.

And despite requests, the Qatar government's report into the fire has not been given to the families, nor has it been allowed to be submitted as evidence to the court, she said.

NZN

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