Tuesday 20 March 2018

Father seeks justice for tragic children

Marton and Petra
Marton and Petra
Their father Bence Zoltai outside the Four Courts in Dublin yesterday

Tim Healy

THE father of two children killed by an Irishman in an accident in Hungary yesterday placed two toys at the entrance to the Four Courts as symbols of the family's attempt to get closure on the tragedy.

Bence Zoltai travelled to Ireland with the toys as a reminder of his two children who lost their lives in the traffic accident 12 years ago.

Last week Ciaran Tobin from Sutton, Dublin, walked free after he won a Supreme Court appeal against a fresh bid to extradite him over the fatal road accident in Hungary in which Mr Zoltai's two children died.

Mr Tobin (48) of Offington Drive, Sutton, Dublin, brought the appeal against a decision to extradite him over the accident in the town of Leanyfalu, near Budapest, on April 9, 2000, when the car he was driving mounted a footpath and struck the two children.

Marton Zoltai (5) who was standing on the pavement, and Petra Zoltai (2), who was in a pram, were killed instantly.

Mr Zoltai said he now hopes the case will be raised at European level and in a meeting between the Hungarian and Irish ministers for justice.

"They were like all children of their age. We really loved them. Since then we have had a son but we will always love them. They are represented here by these soft toys," Mr Zoltai said.

He said his wife Agnes is "very sad" and concentrates on bringing up their son Barna, now nine.

Mr Zoltai said he wants Ciaran Tobin to say he is sorry for what happened.

"He sent a telegram for the funeral. That is not enough. An apology would help us in closure," he said.

Mr Zoltai appealed to Irish people to help him and said he needs legal advice in this country.

Mr Tobin, a qualified accountant working in Hungary at the time on secondment for Irish Life, was later charged with negligent driving causing death. He denied the charges but was found guilty and sentenced to three years imprisonment by a Hungarian court.

This sentence was passed in his absence because, after co-operating with local police, his passport was returned and he came home after completing his work in that country.

He offered to serve the three- year jail sentence in Ireland -- but the Hungarian authorities had sought to extradite him.

Extradition proceedings were then brought against him in 2007 to have him serve that sentence but were dismissed by the High Court and also by the Supreme Court.

Irish Independent

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