20 Jun 2013

Five jailed over deadly Doha fire

10:33 pm on 20 June 2013

Five people have been jailed over a deadly mall fire in Qatar that killed New Zealand triplets.

Nineteen people, including two-year-olds Lillie, Jackson and Willsher Weekes, died in the blaze at the Villaggio Mall in the capital Doha on 28 May 2012.

Local news website Doha News is reporting on Thursday that five defendants, including the mall's manager, have been found guilty of involuntary manslaughter.

Four have been given the maximum sentence of six years in prison, while the fifth defendant has been jailed for five years.

Another two defendants have been cleared of all charges.

Doha News says the judge has referred the case to Qatar's civil court to decide on compensation.

In a statement published online by the website, the families of the victims say they are pleased the court has found someone responsible, but the trial did not answer all their questions about the tragedy.

In April this year another fire broke out at the mall. The Doha News website at the time quoted the Ministry of Interior's Twitter account as stating the blaze was caused by an electrical issue with an air conditioning unit.