The Supreme Court has refused a second request from Hungary to extradite a Dublin man to serve a prison sentence over a road traffic incident 12 years ago, in which two young children died.

Ciarán Tobin was sentenced in his absence to three years in prison for negligent driving over an incident in April 2000 when his car hit a brother and sister, aged five and two, who died at the scene.

Hungary initially sought his extradition in 2004 however the courts here refused this as they found he had not "fled" Hungary after the incident, as was then required under Irish law.

In 2009, the legislation was changed here to remove that requirement.

Hungary sought Mr Tobin's extradition again and the High Court ruled that he should be surrendered.

Mr Tobin appealed to the Supreme Court, which ruled this morning by a majority of three judges to two that this second request was an abuse of process and it found that a Hungarian national could not be extradited to Ireland if the situation was reversed.

Mr Tobin had offered to serve his sentence in this country and voluntarily went into custody in November last year. However, the court heard there was no provision under Irish law to allow him to serve his sentence here.

Mr Justice Adrian Hardiman called this a unique and unprecedented case and an appalling tragedy.

He said the case illustrated how a perfectly ordinary person of good character in a moment and without any intentional or malicious act on his part can become a suspect, then a convict, sentenced to three years in a foreign jail.

He said the case was relevant to anyone who travels abroad and especially anyone who drives a car while abroad.

He also referred to the "grossly abnormal period" during which Mr Tobin, who is a father of two children, has been under threat of forcible separation from his family.

The court ordered his release from custody forthwith. Mr Tobin left with his wife, without making any comment.

Istvan Toth, lawyer for Bence Zoltai has said that they are aware of the verdict, but have decided to refrain from commenting until they have the full judgement.

Mr Toth said, however, that they are not going to accept anything other than the result that they want and “if necessary, we will take it to the international court."

He added that the Hungarian father was devastated by the news and was, in any case, far too upset to speak and had switched his phone off.

Minister for Justice Alan Shatter said it was a very tragic case and the Government would carefully consider the contents of the judgments.

He said we must always be aware that European Arrest Warrant system not only facilitates other European countries seeking prisoners to be transferred back to their state or suspects to be transferred for trial, it also facilitates those who engage in a serious crime in Ireland to be extradited back to Ireland.

He said the European Arrest Warrant system was important in dealing with criminality right across Europe.