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8 - Wednesday, October 28, 2015
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Doha fire ruling 'disappointing', says McCully
Foreign A airs Minister Murray
McCully says it is "very disappointing"
the convictions of ve people responsible
the Qatar mall re that killed two-year-
old triplets have been thrown out.
He says the Government has raised the
case with its Qatari counterparts, while
the parents of the triplets say the pain
they are feeling is "indescribable".
Nineteen people --- including blonde-
haired triplets Lillie, Jackson and Wilsher
Weekes from New Zealand --- died as
a re ripped through the Gympanzee
childcare centre in a Doha mall in 2012.
A Qatari judge has now thrown out the
convictions of four people convicted of
involuntary manslaughter and a public
servant charged with forgery in relation
to the blaze.
" e verdict which has been handed
down overturning all convictions in
relation to the Villagio Mall re is very
disappointing," Mr McCully said.
" e New Zealand Government
understands the upset that families will be
feeling and it is concerning that no one,
so far, has been held to account for these
tragic events. is case has been raised
with the Qatar Government, including
by the Prime Minister, in meetings earlier
in the year."
Mr McCully said it was understood
avenues of appeal were available and a
civil case was under way. O cials at the
New Zealand embassy in Abu Dhabi
were making urgent inquiries about the
next steps in the legal process, he said.
Martin and Jane Weekes, parents of the
triplets, said yesterday the judge's decision
was "devastating" news.
" e pain for all of the families is
indescribable. Today we remember the 19
innocent lives lost, including 13 beautiful
children. We are grieving for our beautiful
children. And we are angry.
"Not one person has taken responsibility
for this crime. e charge has been
reduced to corporate manslaughter. is
is a travesty of justice," Mr Weekes said.
He said the Court of Appeal decision
shows how far Qatar needed to improve
to become a forward-looking member of
the international community.
e Government had to stand up
and represent New Zealand interests to
Qataris, he said.
" eir safety standards are third world.
eir judicial system is not t for purpose.
It is one rule for Qataris and another rule
for all others.
"It is an unsafe place to live, work
and visit. ey cannot even guarantee
public safety with basic protections.
How can anything go ahead in these
circumstances?" Mr Weekes asked.
"Now is the time for the international
community and especially New Zealand
to remind the Qatari government of their
responsibilities to our family and the
other families e ected, for justice to be
None of the ve people convicted
--- including Gympanzee childcare co-
owners, the Villagio mall's chairman and
manager and a public ser vant --- will
serve any jail time.
e Weekes's lawyer told them their
best bet was an appeal in Qatar's highest
court, the Court of Cassation.
In the Court of Appeal ruling, Judge
Abdalrahman al-Shara said he was
throwing out all the testimony from
family members that led to a guilty verdict,
arguing they could not be witnesses and
plainti s in the same case.
He found the company that owns the
shopping centre guilty of manslaughter
--- meaning the only avenue left for
families is to seek nancial compensation.
e company was also ordered to pay
a ne of $QR20,000 (NZ$8000), the
maximum penalty under Qatari law.
A Dunedin to Queenstown air link
looks set to be scaled back after just
taking o , despite being a big hit with
those who turned up for its inaugural
Kiwi Regional Airlines (KRA) chief
executive Ewan Wilson said shortly after
the ight landed in Queenstown what
was to have been a daily service might be
scaled back to Fridays and Mondays.
Mr Wilson said while three months
of marketing had achieved good results
for routes to Nelson and Hamilton, it
appeared there was "an over-supply of
capacity"for the Dunedin to Queenstown
KRA is the work of Mr Wilson, a
former Dunedin man, now a Hamilton
city councillor, who was behind Kiwi Air,
which collapsed in 1996 after intense
His latest venture targets regional routes
not served by other airlines.
e inaugural ight to Queenstown
was delayed by low cloud in the resort,
something that did not seem to bother
passengers, who were in a festive mood.
e ight's captain approached ticket
holders personally in the Dunedin
terminal to explain the situation, and
keep them updated.
e 19 paying passengers who boarded
the rst ight clapped and cheered as it
left the terminal, took o and landed.
Such was the mood of the passengers,
even a ight crew member received a
round of applause when she momentarily
forgot the name of the rst o cer during
her welcoming and safety spiel, then
Once in the air, KRL2 ew north
towards Dunedin, then headed inland
over the Strath Taieri.
Tony and Cynthea Corbett, of Dunedin,
said they booked to experience the rst
ight, and to support the new business.
Ms Corbett said it was a good service
for people with family in the region.
Karen Holmes, who lives on the
Taieri, was travelling to visit family in
Queenstown, and friends in Wanaka, and
would "most de nitely" use it again.
"I've been waiting for it," she said of the
After the ight, the rst passenger o
the plane, Jon-Paul Jordan, of Dunedin,
described it as brilliant.
"A bit of a long journey here but it
was all worth it --- a beautiful view on
the way in, too." Mr Jordan, a private
banking manager for ASB Bank, worked
in Queenstown for the day and was due
to y back to Dunedin yesterday evening.
Mr Wilson said he was "really proud",
and described the enthusiastic response
of passengers as "pleasing".
A Masterton woman is hailing her
neighbours as heroes after they saved her
two miniature horses from being mauled
to death by two marauding dogs.
Jayne Parris had been in Upper Hutt
yesterday when she received a phone
call at 11.30am from Gavin and Shelley
Kennedy, who lived next door to her
on Millard Avenue, alerting her to the
Mrs Parris said her two miniature
horses --- 14-year-old mother Rosie
and ve-year-old o spring Poppy ---
would be dead had it not been for her
neighbours' inter vention.
" ey're heroes, my neighbours, they
are absolute heroes. I wouldn't have
these (horses) here today if they hadn't
intervened in some way," she said.
Mr Kennedy said it had been a rare
occasion that both he and his wife had
been at home during the week day.
He had heard Shelley's poodle Paloma
"barking in a di erent way than it
normally barks" so he looked out the
window and saw the two horses running
around the paddock.
He got in his utility vehicle and raced
down the driveway to try to fend o
what he thought was an American
Sta ordshire terrier and another dog
of unknown breed, which were chasing
the horses. " e pony comes across and
the dog latched on to its leg and I had
enough brains to grab a great big long
iron bar," Mr Kennedy said.
" e pony ended up on the ground
being dragged down by the dog that
wouldn't let go and I just upped the
pinch bar and went boof, straight in the
middle of its back. And then it let go and
the pony escaped out through the gate."
Grieving parents angry
Kiwi Air scaling back f lights
Neighbours 'heroes' for chasing off dogs
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