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Monday 11 December 2017

Family of Ciaran Tobin say he will not appeal for presidential pardon

Ciaran Tobin
Ciaran Tobin

Shane Phelan and Ani Horvath in Budapest

COMMENTS made by a Hungarian government minister, who claimed an Irishman who ran down and killed two children in Budapest was likely to apply for a pardon, have been contradicted.

Sources close to the family of life insurance executive Ciaran Tobin said he had no intention of doing so and intended to serve out his sentence.

They were responding to comments by Hungarian justice minister Tibor Navracsis yesterday, who said Mr Tobin was “likely to ask the Irish President for amnesty.”

Mr Tobin (48) travelled to the Hungarian capital earlier this week to begin a prison sentence there for the killings of a five-year-old boy and his two-year-old sister 14 years ago.

Last year he won a lengthy court battle not to be extradited there, but finally agreed to travel of his own volition after a deal was brokered which will mean he serves most of his sentence in Ireland.

The former Irish Life employee from Sutton in north Dublin flew to Budapest on Monday and was immediately taken into custody at Liszt Ferenc Airport.

Mr Navracsis yesterday signed an order which will allow for Mr Tobin to be returned to Dublin as early as tomorrow (FRIDAY) to serve out the remaining 11 months of his sentence.

He will have spent just four days behind bars in Hungary.

Mr Navracsis said Mr Tobin was “likely to ask the Irish President for amnesty” on his return.

“Every president has the right to give amnesty to those whom he thinks have suffered enough and deserve a break. I would not be surprised, if Tobin did get that amnesty,” said Mr Navracsis.

But this has been disputed by people close to the Tobin family, who say he has no plans to do so.

Senior law lecturer Tom O’Malley said the issuing of pardons was extremely rare and usually only on the grounds of a clear miscarriage of justice.

Marton Zoltai (5) and his sister Petra (2) died after being struck by Mr Tobin’s car after he lost control and it mounted a footpath in Budapest in April 2000.

Mr Tobin left the country after his posting there finished.

But he was convicted in absence in 2002, first receiving a three year sentence. This was later reduced to 18 months.

Seven of those months have already been served in Ireland when Mr Tobin was in custody awaiting a decision on his extradition.

Last night Mr Tobin was being held in a single cell at the Nagy Ignac prison.

He was being kept apart from other prisoners, Hungarian officials said, due to sensitivities surrounding cases involving the deaths of children.

Mr Tobin was visited yesterday by his wife Carol, his lawyer, and an official from the Hungarian justice ministry. Mrs Tobin declined to comment when approached by journalists.

Bence Zoltai, the father of the two children who died, said he had considered visiting Mr Tobin, but decided against it.

“I'm not sure if I'd want to relive the pain of seeing him,” said Mr Zoltai.

“I have seen him enough in Ireland at the courts.

“I know, he still hasn't given it up and the Irish authorities shown their sympathy to him in the past, therefore I do not think he would actually spend his entire prison sentence behind bars.”

The Department of Justice declined to comment on what arrangements were being made for Mr Tobin’s return.



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