OTTAWA — The son of former Newfoundland premier Brian Tobin placed his head in his hands and wept after being released from jail on Christmas Day, moments after being charged with causing the death of his best friend.
John Joseph Tobin, known as Jack, was charged with several offences in the death of his long-time friend Alex Zolpis after an accident in a parking garage on Christmas Eve.
They include dangerous driving causing death.
Tobin, 24, stoically faced an Ottawa judge early Saturday morning to hear the conditions of his release.
But once free on $100,000 bond, he fell into his mother Jodean’s arms and with his parents holding him tight, they all left the courthouse.
“We just want to express our, Jack’s, deep deep remorse for the loss of his friend Alex,” Brian Tobin said, pain flickering over his face as Jodean cried softly.
“It is a tragedy for everybody involved and we can’t add more.”
Minutes earlier, Tobin’s two other children had walked briskly out of court, the clacking of their boots and the clicking of cameras the only noises in the silence of Christmas morning in Ottawa’s downtown core.
Early Friday morning, police had been called to a parking lot in the heart of Ottawa’s Byward Market, a cluster of bars and restaurants packed with holiday revellers.
Witnesses had reported a man was trapped under a truck.
Police said he was pronounced deceased at the scene.
A Facebook account in the name Alex Zolpis showed the photo of a happy young man, who listed his interests as “livin’ life to the fullest.”
Brian Tobin said Alex and Jack were close friends who had gone to high school and university together.
“They were amongst a small group of friends who were all very close,” he said.
Jack Tobin is also charged with impaired operation of a vehicle causing death and driving with a blood-alcohol concentration of over 80 milligrams of alcohol in 100 millilitres of blood and causing death.
He faces a maximum penalty of life in prison.
Tobin was the only person charged in the incident.
He is to appear in court again in late January.
Tobin is a Dalhousie University graduate and works for Event Source Security & Investigations in its Toronto office.
It’s not the first time he has been in the public eye.
In 2007, Tobin was stabbed at a party in Halifax while working as a security guard.
He was one of four guards stabbed as they tried to eject a man. Tobin was hospitalized after the incident.
A 17-year-old Halifax youth pleaded guilty to attempted murder and aggravated assault.