These few lines at Radio Canada and Adam Donaldson's Guelph Politico Blog are the only mentions I have found anywhere that Michael Sona, convicted of aiding and abetting unknown perp(s) in an unsolved crime of unknown proportions, lost his sentence appeal on May 18 and headed back to jail to serve out his nine month sentence.
Sona, with nothing to deal and no electronic or material evidence of his guilt produced at his trial, was such a likely fall guy.
A couple of weeks before the 2011 election, CPC HQ had sent him out to halt voting at a special election poll at Guelph U that CPC HQ disputed the legality of and his name hit the media bigtime.
Elections Canada's investigation into the robo/live calls misdirecting voters across two thirds of the ridings in the 2011 federal election appeared dead in the water in 2012, but public interest was rekindled when reporters Stephen Maher and Glen McGregor exposed "Pierre Poutine" as the perp and the robocall company RackNine as the source of the calls into Guelph.
Con Party robocaller Matt Meier of RackNine - you might remember him from the dubious Con Party 2013 Saskatchewan election boundaries robocalls debacle - traced the missing Poutine evidence on the RackNine hard drives and fired it off to EC investigator Al Mathews, along with a heads up to CPC HQ. Months earlier he'd sent another heads up to Andrew Prescott, Sona's Guelph campaign co-worker.
Then out of the blue on Feb 23 2012, Brian Lilley announced on Sun News that
1) the Cons had identified Sona as a suspect,
2) Con Party lawyer Arthur Hamilton was on the case, and
3) Jenni Byrne had given Sun News a statement denying CPC HQ involvement.
A shocked Sona called everyone he knew at CPC HQ to find out what was going on. According to Sona, CPC lawyer Arthur Hamilton called him back and told him not to worry about anonymous sources.
Hamilton subsequently delivered a sixpack of Con staffers to Al Mathews and sat in on their interviews on the CPC's behalf as they told their stories of Sona asking how to pull off an anonymous robocall and later bragging of having pulled off the Pierre Poutine robocall scheme, the latter details of which were by then widely available in the media.
Elections Canada dropped their investigation into other suspects and ridings and the RCMP granted immunity from prosecution to the Crown's star witness Andrew Prescott. Prescott's "evolving" testimony at trial - Sona's post-election toast to "Pierre", burner phone packaging in Sona's waste bin, and Sona's euphoric election morning office announcement "it's working, it's working" - the Crown stressed several times, "should be approached with caution".
The three minute difference between the end of a 4:12am Election Day Pierre Poutine log out at RackNine as Client 93 and a 4:15am Andrew Prescott log in from the same IP address in the Guelph campaign office as Client 45 was never adequately explained at trial.
However Prescott testified that sometime before 7pm that same day, an hour before polls were to close anyway, Guelph campaign chief Ken Morgan handed him the Pierre Poutine RackNine account log in info and instructed him to put a stop to the "Counter Fake EC" robocall.
Mr. Morgan later decamped to Kuwait without ever being interviewed by Elections Canada and Mr Prescott destroyed the Guelph campaign computers.
Sona did not testify at his trial, as is his right, after repeatedly maintaining his innocence of the charges against him and therefore his lack of knowledge as to who else might have been involved. His lawyer Norm Boxall was confident they'd won their case according to Sona, given the lack of any material or electronic evidence connecting Sona with either RackNine or Pierre Poutine or a CIMS list of non-supporters. Sona did not have access to CIMS.
On August 14 2014 however, Justice Gary Hearn found that, while apparently not acting alone, Sona authored the initiating email to Racknine and purchased one or more of the various credit cards and the burner phone in order to direct Guelph voters to the wrong polling station on May 2 2011. He believed the testimony from the Conservative staffers and campaign co-workers, or rather, as he stated in his summation, he could not believe the Conservative staffers and co-workers made it all up.
In sentencing Sona in November 2014, Hearn found that despite defence lawyer Norm Boxall's characterization of Sona's actions as possibly a "prank gone terribly wrong", nine months in prison was :
"necessary in order that the public and particularly those involved in political campaigns at any level will appreciate that the courts regard this type of activity as criminal and to be treated seriously."So off Sona went to jail and was back out on bail pending appeal of his sentence which he has just subsequently lost.
Guelph resident Susan Watson wrote the following day in the Guelph Mercury :
"Sona certainly didn’t access non-supporter lists in Winnipeg South Centre, Saskatoon-Rosetown-Biggar, Elmwood-Transcona, Nipissing-Temiskaming, Vancouver Island North and Yukon. In a court case involving these six ridings, Justice Richard Mosley found that “misleading calls about the locations of polling stations were made to electors in ridings across the country, including the subject ridings.”If he knows who it is he is doing time for "aiding and abetting", Sona isn't saying.
Stripped of their in house authority to prosecute election offences courtesy of Harper's 2006 Federal Accountability Act, and with the no longer independent Commissioner now housed under the Attorney General's roof courtesy of the Fair Elections Act, Elections Canada has quietly rolled over and gone back to sleep.
The website for Peter Smoczynski's documentary film Election Day in Canada : The Rise of Voter Suppression has two new interesting pieces on Sona :
Sona on his realization he had been pegged as a suspect, and
Stephen Maher's reflections on Sona as a fall guy after his conviction, in the film's trailer
Also see Michael Harris : 'I'm Tired': Michael Sona on robocalls, his suicide attempt -- and the road back