A driver who took his mates on a drunken late night rabbit shoot that ended in two of them being killed has been jailed for at least two years.
Paul Jacob Poduska, 27, was drunk when he drove the ute which rolled down an embankment, killing James Herbert, 26, and Kale Shaw, 18, who were riding in the vehicle's tray, the Victorian County Court heard.
Poduska was given a three-and-a-half year jail term, with a minimum two years, over the incident north-east of Melbourne in February 7, 2004.
Judge Jim Duggan acknowledged Poduska did not intend any harm for his two mates and that his offending was at the low end of the culpable driving scale.
"This is a tragic case, it's tragic for you and those close to you. The victims were close friends," Judge Duggan said.
He said it was remarkable the victims' families did not blame him for what happened and viewed it only as a tragic accident.
Poduska, a vineyard manager at the time, had a blood alcohol reading of between 0.08 and 0.1 when the ute rolled, the court heard.
He and his friends had been drinking at a hotel until the early hours of the morning and caught a taxi to the vineyard he managed in Tarrawarra, north-east of Melbourne.
They decided to shoot rabbits and Poduska drove his friends around the property in his 4WD Toyota HiLux work ute in darkness.
But they ventured off the track and as they approached long grass, the ute slipped down an embankment and rolled, crushing Mr Herbert and Mr Shaw who were in the tray.
Any story which includes the phrase "drunken late night rabbit shoot" is sure to end well.......right?