Sunday 4 December 2016

Man fails in bid to stop Hungarian extradition

Tim Healy

Published 12/02/2011 | 05:00

A MAN has lost his High Court bid to prevent his extradition to Hungary in connection with a fatal traffic accident more than 10 years ago.

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Two children, including one sitting in a pram, died when a car struck them on a footpath in Budapest.

Ciaran Tobin (46), Offington Drive, Sutton, yesterday lost a bid to prevent his extradition following his conviction in Hungary for negligent driving causing the accident.

He was in court yesterday and remains on bail pending the making of formal orders in the extradition proceedings. He intends to appeal the High Court decision to the Supreme Court, his lawyers said.

Mr Justice Michael Peart, while dismissing Mr Tobin's bid, said at least one point of law of exceptional public importance arose which should be determined by the Supreme Court.

Maurice Collins SC, for the Attorney General, said his side would not object to the High Court certifying points of law. The exact points of law will be decided later. The case has been listed again for March 9.

In a European Arrest Warrant it is claimed a car driven by Mr Tobin -- who was working in Hungary for Irish Life -- mounted a footpath in a built-up area near the Hungarian capital on April 9, 2000, killing Marton Zoltai (5) and Petra Zoltai (2). It is claimed Mr Tobin's wife and two Irish friends were also in the car at the time. The following day, all four attended a police station and made a statement with the assistance of a Hungarian lawyer. Mr Tobin was later sentenced to three years in prison, reduced to 18 months on appeal.

Extradition proceedings brought in 2007 were dismissed after the High Court found, under the relevant provision of the European Arrest Warrant Act 2003, he had not "fled" Hungary after the incident.

The High Court accepted Mr Tobin's arguments he and his family left Hungary on November 30, 2000 following the completion of his work there and he never "fled" Hungary. The Supreme Court upheld that decision in 2008.

The 2003 Act was later amended to remove, in relation to European Arrest Warrants issued after August 2009, the requirement that the Justice Minister must satisfy the High Court that a person has "fled" from the issuing state before serving a sentence.

Those amendments were signed into law in July 2010 and in September 2010 the Hungarian authorities issued a new warrant, in exactly the same terms as the first.

Interference

In his judgment, Mr Justice Peart ruled there was no bar to an issuing State issuing a fresh warrant for surrender after a previous application failed.

He also rejected arguments that the amendment of the 2003 act constituted an interference by the Oireachtas with an order of the court.

He also rejected arguments that extradition represented an unwarranted and disproportionate interference with Mr Tobin's family rights under the Constitution and European Convention on Human Rights.

Irish Independent

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