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DOHA: A court hearing the Villaggio Mall fire case yesterday turned down the plea of the defence lawyer of the husband-wife co-owners of the Gympanzee nursery gutted in the blaze, that his clients be exempted from attending court proceedings.
The plea was made on the ground that the couple, who are first and second accused in the case, were based abroad, with the husband being a diplomat. It was also pointed out that their children were in school.
The lawyer said in his plea that since the hearing in the case was now being held at short intervals, the couple be allowed not to be present during the proceedings. The court rejected the plea and said the duo must attend the hearing when it happens.
The next hearing has been scheduled for February 7, a week later. At yesterday’s hearing, only one witness, from the forensic laboratory, who had prepared a report on the cause of the mall fire, testified in the court and cited in detail what ignited the blaze.
Also, for the first time yesterday, the lawyer for an insurance company with which the mall might apparently have a policy, attended the proceedings.
The court yesterday asked one of the defence lawyers to produce his witnesses in the court during the next hearing.
The list of the witnesses is said to be long.