Villaggio fire trial adjourned again

 30 Nov 2012 - 3:47


Wearing badges with photographs of their deceased children, Mohamed Moeneeb Emeran (right) and Abdul Maseeh (left) seen outside the criminal court in Al Sadd yesterday after hearing in the Villaggio Mall fire case was adjourned. Emeran’s son Umar is in the centre.  Kamukutty VP

DOHA: The owners of the ill-fated and illegal Gympanzee nursery at the Villaggio Mall—a husband and wife—eventually showed up at the criminal court for the hearing in the May 28 fire case yesterday.

The court, though, put off the trial again—this time on technical grounds as inheritance documents and power of attorney handed by the relatives of those who died in the inferno were not found in order.

The court adjourned the hearing — for the fifth time in a row — to December 19. The previous adjournments since early last September were due to the absence of the nursery owner-couple.

“It was a surprise of the century,” was how a parent of a child who was one of the 13 toddlers who perished in the killer blaze reacted when asked about the presence of the duo in court.  

This was the first time since September 6 when the trial was originally slated to begin after the court reopened following a long summer break that all the eight accused in the case turned up for the hearing.

The parents of several deceased children also showed up although their presence was not legally required. “We are here to give moral support,” said another parent.

Their eyes turned wet at the sight of the nursery owners as that was in whose care they had left their children on the fateful day (May 28, 2012).

Asked what they had to say now that the trial had been further put off, a parent said: “At least the ball is rolling.”

Sources, meanwhile, said that efforts were being made by defense lawyers (counsels for the mall) to bring charges against a shoe shop from where the fire is said to have begun. The prosecution is believed to be opposing the move as that would take part of the blame off the mall management.

The Peninsula