The Tobin case: Will we ever learn?


I’m want to write about the Jack Tobin case and I’m having difficulty.

There are things I want to say, but I believe Jack Tobin deserves a fair hearing in a court of law.

Let’s start with this. I don’t care who Jack Tobin’s father is.  His father’s resume should play no part in how this drinking and driving causing death case turns out.

When a person is lying under a truck at 3 a.m. in a  parking garage after being run over, social status doesn’t matter.

What does matter is that clearly, a group of kids went to a bar in Ottawa’s Byward Market and they were overserved. The owners might argue that the group had already been drinking — a classic defence — and the bar was therefore not responsible.

I don’t buy this.

 If a person is charged with having twice the legal limit of alcohol in his system, he will have demonstrated classic signs of impairment. He might not have looked drunk at 10 p.m. but within an hour, it would be clear that he was drunk. His eyes would be bloodshot or glassy, he would have trouble talking or ordering, he would fumble with his money, he would talk over people. Or he would fall asleep.

That’s how impairment works.

His friends would also, presumably, be impaired and rowdy. So the server should have, at the very least, asked how they were getting home.

This is called “smart service”.

Instead, Jack Tobin took his friends up on a parking garage, shared with them a flask of whiskey and proceeded not to carefully negotiate the half hour drive back to his home in Manotick, but do donuts on the roof. At one point, two kids fell out of the car and one kid died.

No one stopped Jack Tobin. No one took away his keys.

Everybody was having such as great time. It was Christmas holidays after all.

While Jack Tobin must bear the ultimate responsibility, I would like to hear the bar owner’s version of the events that night.

I would also like to know how so many people could have been around this individual and let him get in that truck and kill his friend.

He did not act alone.

There were at least four other people cruising the market with Tobin — and they should share in the blame.

It’s easy to take yourself off the hook. Hey, I wasn’t driving. I was in the backseat being scared.

Kids have to learn that they are accessories in cases like this. It’s the same as if they were with a group of friends and one guy was shoplifting. The cops arrest everybody.

But when it comes to drunk driving, people in the car are never charged or held responsible. I don’t get that.

As a society, we all have an obligation to stop others from drinking and driving.

That means sharing the blame — at least morally. That means not over-serving. That means threatening to call the cops on a guy who’s clearly out of control and acting dangerously — even if he is your friend.

Until this happens, more people will die and more people will go to jail for simple stupidity.

Will we ever learn?

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