Jack Tobin sentenced to three years in prison

The Canadian Press ~ OBJ
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Jack Tobin, son of former Newfoundland premier Brian Tobin, and his mother, Jodean, leave court in Ottawa on Aug. 5, 2011. — THE CANADIAN PRESS/ Patrick Doyle

OTTAWA — A judge has sentenced Jack Tobin to three years in prison and a seven-year driving ban for his role in the death of a close friend last Christmas Eve.

The son of former Newfoundland premier Brian Tobin pleaded guilty in May to impaired driving causing death.

Alex Zolpis was pinned under a pickup truck during drunken hijinks in a downtown parking lot.

At a sentencing hearing earlier this month, Tobin offered a tearful apology for his actions.

Tobin’s lawyers had suggested a sentence of 18 to 30 months, while the prosecution wanted five years.

Crown attorney Mark Moors said there was evidence of previous reckless acts behind the wheel and excessive alcohol consumption by Tobin.

Geographic location: OTTAWA, Newfoundland

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Recent comments

  • Jim
    September 01, 2011 - 20:22

    i dont think the past has anything to do with it he took another persons life that in it self should be taken more seriuosly and the fact that he was drunk at the time makes it mopre servere its like walking down the street with a loaded gun and firing it into a croud should be an automatic murder charge and he should never get to drive again same as if you shoot someone you can never own a gun again

  • Jim
    August 31, 2011 - 20:12

    in my openion getting behind the wheel drunk is just as bad as walking down the street firing a gun aimlessly some one could get killed and should get the same punishment and in this case someone got killed i think 3 years for killing someone is to little just cause it was in a car and the son of a politician what if it was someone who didnt have money would the punishment be more severe

  • willy D
    August 31, 2011 - 20:11

    To hear Brian Tobin speak to the media afterwards I was taken back to his political career with his short sentences with long pauses that make you think he was a very introspective intellectual. "He's my son.....he's a brother.....he made a serious mistake....we're deeply regretful..." Well where was all this remorse and concern when young Jack got his 3rd, 6th, 10th, 14th, 18th driving conviction???

    August 31, 2011 - 19:51

    I think the justice system failed here with enforcing consequences. Any good lawyer will tell their client to plead quilty and act remorseful when there are no chances of winning a case when you're caught red handed, blood alcohol over the legal limit and someone run over under your truck, with you in it!!!. It's all about limiting damages at this point. So because he pleaded guilty and acted remorseful shouldn't affect sentencing. So whatever the judge was trying to sell to the public to make his sentenceing more platable, I'm not buying it. Where the justice system failed was in the 18 previous offences a 24 year old racked up in just over 10 years of driving. Obviously he didn't learn from these convictions, and consequences weren't harsh enough to make him changes his poor behavior and lack or regard for driving safety. Why aren't these 18 prior convictions taken into account and his sentence adjusted upwards to take into account his past lack of regard for the law. We see this all the time with young offenders whose crimes continue to escalate, they get lite sentences with extension of parole, etc. until one day they finally kill someone. It is for this reason I believe the justice system here failed the victim and his family and the rest of the driving publicl.

  • MADD
    August 31, 2011 - 19:28

    I am appalled at the light sentence Jack Tobin received for taking a life. Especially given the fact that this is not his first offense performing"wheelies" with his vehicles, possibly under the influence. Our Canadian Justice system is broken. As I understand it, Mr. Tobin can obtain parole after serving only 6 months of his 3-year sentence. The Law books state: If someone is killed as a result of someone’s impaired driving, that is called “impaired driving causing death.” If, however, the driving is so egregious, as in street racing while impaired, for instance, the charge would be “criminal negligence causing death” and its sentencing will be more severe. The sentence for criminal negligence causing death is up to lifetime maximum imprisonment. What was the Judge thinking when he imposed such a light sentence? My Aunt was killed by a drunk driver in Ottawa, leaving a 2 year old daughter who never knew her mother. Harper says he is tough on crime, but it is just lip service.

  • Lisa
    August 31, 2011 - 17:52

    18 convictions plus one suspension ! So Sad.

  • Peggy
    August 31, 2011 - 15:00

    Jack Tobin should have been remorseful and learned a lesson after the first four or five offfenses. He's 24 and should have grown up long before this. If this terrible fatality hadn't occurred, do you really think his driving habits would have changed? No, he'd be going about his merry ole way, as usual, continuring to put innocent people at risk of his recklessness.

  • Joni
    August 31, 2011 - 14:41

    Well said Santo!

  • Wanda
    August 31, 2011 - 14:19

    How in the name of heavens did Jack Tobin even have a valid Driver's License after so many offenses? For him to have the FREEDOM of driving around with his record was like a madman on the loose with a loaded gun. Obviously, he didn't even have any common sense, let alone concern for the public. He deserves the sentence he got.

  • Just me
    August 31, 2011 - 13:59

    That's it????????????????????????

  • Lee
    August 31, 2011 - 13:55

    We certainly did not "all do it at that age", or younger, either. Most parents would have made sure of that after the very first offense. Jack had numerous upon numerous driving offenses; who the hell did he think he was continuing on with this careless, immature lifestyle that was bound to sooner or later result in horrific consequences.

  • grant
    August 31, 2011 - 12:17

    Iam still hurting from the Mathew Churchill Killing, where the driver a Mr Parsons got away with it. But having said that Iam suprised he got such a heavy sentence, then of cource its not NL.

  • Jim Evans
    August 31, 2011 - 12:14

    Just backing up the comments made by FLASH, no winners in this case. Just bad drunken hi-jinx. Both families will have to live with these actions for the remainder of there lives. My heart goes out to both families here. Remember young Matthew Churchill, his killer got six months.

  • Santo
    August 31, 2011 - 11:53

    Jack plead guilty, seems remorseful, (which in my mind is the most important). Lets look at those who drove drunk and showed no remorse, who plead not guilty, who didn't take responsibilty, even tried to cover it up. Shall we mention an incident on Topsail Road, shall we remember an incident in Portugal Cove, shall I go on??? The whole idea of rehabilatation is to pay for and regret your actions and learn a lesson to never do it again. All the young men in that truck, ( and there was more than just Jack and Alex) were drunk, any of them could have made a dumb decision. It's not like he is denying it or tryin to make excuses and saying "poor me" (like some other drunks have done) I believe Jack has learned a horrible lesson, and will never forget. It's the ones who say "poor me" (portugal cove) who make me sick...

    • Don
      August 31, 2011 - 15:37

      I agree with Santo.

  • james
    August 31, 2011 - 11:49

    his driving record shows his total lack of respect for the law, by the way their is no such thing as an accident

    • Could be Me
      August 31, 2011 - 12:59

      Well said Life Changes. Many of us have done similarly dumb things in our youth and escaped without these horrific consequences. There but for the grace of god go I.

  • whateverbud
    August 31, 2011 - 11:38

    So,what prison will he be going to? You'll never find out.

  • Mr.Mom
    August 31, 2011 - 11:34

    I was reading the story and the comments as well. This young man gets 3 yrs in jail and will be out in 15 months. What did that OTHER idiot get when he struck those girls on Topsail Road ? Luckily those little angels survived but are scared for life. @ your comment MARY- you say they are both at fault, how stupid does that sound. You are the reason I decided to comment, sure the young man got in the back of the truck but did Jack have to get in and drive it. Your comment makes me shake my head and say what an #@*%$. Jack could have said "Alex, get out of the truck and let's get another beer".....Jack Tobin is the one at FAULT. HE is the reason Alex' parents are without a son, HE is the reason Alex' girlfriend is without her lover and HE is the reason Alex' parents will not be able to be Grandparents to their son, something I'm sure was talked about at the dinner table more than once. Shame on you !!!!!

    • mary
      August 31, 2011 - 12:07

      I didn't say this to start something here,it was just my feelings about it,like I said one had to lose his life over this,that is the sad part,sorry u didn't see that part

  • flash
    August 31, 2011 - 11:08

    no one wins in this situation

  • Life Changes
    August 31, 2011 - 10:54

    So agree with Serious....they were all drinking, it could have easily been Alex driving that vehilce....it just goes to show how young people just think they are invicible....we all did at that age.

  • Derek
    August 31, 2011 - 10:54

    Purposely or not a 24 year old man is dead because another 24 year old chose to drink and drive (it was admitted into evidence that he had twice the legal limit in him), abuse the privileges associated with having a driver's license (and it is a privilege, not a right) not once, but the record shows 18 convictions plus one suspension. It would appear to any rational individual that this young man was quite contenmptuous of the traffic laws and it finally caught up with him. Jack Tobin should thank his lucky stars he didn't get one hell of a lot more than three years.

  • mary
    August 31, 2011 - 10:53

    It isn't the money in this case,yes they had money I know I followed this all the way fr the begining,they were both at fault here,no one told his friend to get in back of the truck drunk,no one told him to drive drunk,makes them both at fault but he lost his life that is heart breaking

  • John Stokes
    August 31, 2011 - 10:52

    3 years and he has many other previous traffic offences...If that was some poor smuck he would get 10 years. Also remember that he can always get out early... he will be home for Christmas 2012

  • Ros
    August 31, 2011 - 10:25

    3 yrs. for taking the life of someone, where is the justice in that...I guess money talks..

    • serious
      August 31, 2011 - 10:40

      A bunch of friends out horsing around and unfortunally one gets killed! Ros do you think he purposely tried to kill his friend!? There was bad judgments that night! Not only by Tobin but by all parties involved!

    • Sal
      August 31, 2011 - 11:12

      My heart goes out to both families.