Irish News

Saturday 26 July 2014

Ciaran Tobin begins Hungarian prison sentence after killing two children in crash

Published 14/01/2014|10:10

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Ciaran Tobin

A DUBLIN man has begun a prison sentence in Hungary for knocking down and killing two children almost 14 years ago.

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Ciaran Tobin had previously escaped extradition over the deaths of Petra Zoltai (2) and her brother Marton (5) in April 2000 in his company Volvo while he was working abroad for Irish Life.

He lost control of the vehicle in the city of Leanyfalu, near Budapest, on April 9, 2000 and mounted the pavement while trying to avoid a car coming from a side road. Marton, who was standing on the pavement, and his sister Petra, who was in a pram, were killed instantly and Tobin was questioned by Hungarian police afterwards.

Tobin returned to Ireland when his work was complete but in 2002 a court in Hungary sentenced the father-of-three to a term in prison between two and three years in his absence.

He had been convicted of negligent driving. The sentence was later reduced to 18 months on appeal.

But after a long legal battle Tobin, who lives in Offington Drive in Sutton with his family, won a Supreme Court bit to escape extradition.

The courts here found in his favour because a requirement of the European Arrest Warrant, under which he was sought, had not been met as he had not "fled" from Hungary after the incident but had left, returned and then left again "without impediment".

In 2010, two months after the Government here had amended the legislation to remove the "fled" requirement, the Hungarian authorities issued a new warrant for Mr Tobin.

He lost a High Court challenge to the second extradition attempt but won his appeal to the Supreme.

Tobin previously spent seven months in custody in Ireland, so has 11 months left to serve.

It is understood that a deal was arranged between the departments of Justice here and in Hungary that would allow Tobin, under certain conditions,  serve a short portion of his sentence in Hungary and then return to Ireland where he would serve the remainder.

Tobin flew to Budapest last night with his wife and was arrested by arrangement and brought to jail, but he is expected back in Ireland on Friday where he will be escorted to prison here to serve the remaining time.

While battling extradition Tobin claimed in an affidavit that he would get a rough time in a Hungarian jail because he was branded a child killer, and he offered to serve his time in Ireland.

By Conor Feehan

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