Saturday 25 November 2017

Man jailed for killing two children in crash to seek pardon

Ciaran Tobin
Ciaran Tobin

Shane Phelan and Ani Horvath Budapest

A SENIOR life insurance manager who ran down and killed two children in Budapest is to apply to President Michael D Higgins for a pardon so he can be released from prison.

Ciaran 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.

Tobin last year 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.

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

Yesterday, Hungarian Justice Minister Tibor Navracsis signed an order which will allow him to be returned to Dublin as early as tomorrow to serve out his remaining 11 months.

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

Mr Navracsis said 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," he said.

It is understood Tobin will cite the fact the Supreme Court decreed he did not have to be extradited because it did not believe he fled Hungary, as grounds for receiving such a pardon.

However, 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 and his sister Petra died after being struck by Tobin's car after he lost control and it mounted a footpath in Budapest in April 2000. Tobin left the country after his work posting there finished.

However, he was convicted of negligent driving, in ahis bsence, 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 Tobin was in custody awaiting a decision on his extradition.

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

Irish Independent

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