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Jack Tobin gets three years in prison for fatal drunk driving accident

Jack Tobin was sentenced Wednesday to three years in prison for his role in the death of a close friend last Christmas Eve.

He will also face a seven-year driving ban once his sentence is done.

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

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

Judge Lise Maisonneuve said she took into account Tobin's extreme remorse and his decision to plead guilty and forgo a trial in reaching her decision. But she also considered Tobin's previous behaviour.

Tobin's lawyer 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 Mr. Tobin.

Brian Tobin said Jack had been a good son.

"He made a serious mistake," the former premier and federal cabinet minister said. "He's going to pay the price of that mistake."

He said his son still has potential.

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"The best way he can honour his friend Alex is to have a good life and make a contribution to his community. We know that he will."

Norm Boxall, Tobin's lawyer, called it a sad day.

"This really exceptional young man that wanted to do the right thing for everyone in the circumstances, and pled guilty, and the judge's comments about his promise, I think are there," Mr. Boxall said.

"That having been said, it's a very sad day for all concerned. It's a sad day to see a young man go to jail and it's a sad day to reflect on the loss for Alex's family."

Emma Roberts, Mr. Zolpis's girlfriend, said she will never be satisfied.

"We're left to pick up the pieces," she said.

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

"I truly wish I had been the only victim of my actions that night and not Alex," the 24-year-old said.

He addressed Mr. Zolpis's tearful parents, sister and girlfriend by name, saying "how truly sorry and utterly ashamed I am for the unforgivable mistakes I made."

He ended his short statement with a sad caution: "If there's any good to come from this very, very dark cloud, I hope that it will be this message to others: the consequences of drinking and driving are deadly, they are real, they are enduring — a nightmare from which you never wake up."

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