Dublin man returns to Hungary to serve sentence

Tuesday 14 January 2014 23.03
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Ciaran Tobin voluntarily flew to Budapest last night and was brought to jail
Ciaran Tobin voluntarily flew to Budapest last night and was brought to jail
Petra Zoltai and her brother Marton died when they were knocked down  in 2000
Petra Zoltai and her brother Marton died when they were knocked down in 2000

A Dublin man who knocked down and killed two children in Hungary almost 14 years ago has begun serving a sentence in a prison in Hungary following an agreement between the Irish government and the authorities there.

Ciaran Tobin voluntarily flew to Budapest last night and was brought to jail.

However, arrangements are being made to transfer him back to Ireland as soon as possible to serve the remainder of an 11-month sentence in a prison here.

The sentence was imposed after he lost control of a car in the city of Leanyfalu on 9 April 2000.

The car mounted the pavement and killed two children, two-year-old Petra Zoltai, who was in a pram, and her five-year-old brother Marton who was standing nearby.

Tobin was subsequently convicted of negligent driving and sentenced to three years in prison in his absence which was subsequently reduced on appeal to 18 months.

The father-of-three also spent seven months in prison here during the hearing of an application by the Hungarian authorities to have him extradited to serve his sentence.

He claimed in an affidavit that he would have a difficult time in prison in Hungary because he would be known as a child killer, so he offered to serve his time in Ireland.

The Supreme Court refused in 2012, after a lengthy legal battle, to extradite him but the Hungarian authorities continued to make representations to the Government here and at European level to have Tobin committed to prison there.

It is understood the Department of Justice facilitated this arrangement once Tobin agreed to return to Hungary to serve a small portion of his sentence there.

The Department of Justice and the Prison Service have refused to comment on the deal.

The Hungarian Minister for Public Administration said justice had been done and all those involved have played their part to bring to an end the sad story.

The children's father Bence Zoltai said he completely agreed with what had happened and that it was important that the imprisonment of Ciaran Tobin take place.

He said he also hoped that people would not believe that Mr Tobin would be treated better in prison than other inmates.

A spokesperson for the Hungarian Minister for Public Administration confirmed that he would be returned to Ireland next Friday.