Anna Mehler Paperny – Global News
Michael Sona told “several” friends he was involved in making misleading calls directing Guelph voters to nonexistent polling stations in the May, 2011 election, court documents allege.
Conservative staffers interviewed by police in the company of a party lawyer told officers they initially weren’t sure whether their friend, “given to exaggeration,” was serious or not.
The affidavit sworn by Elections Canada investigator Allan Matthews is part of an “information to obtain a production order” – documentation backing up a request to a judge for access to more evidence. The documents have been under a publication ban that was partially lifted by Ontario judge Celynne Dorval Monday afternoon.
None of the details of the affidavit have been proven in court. The names of the witnesses, whom Matthews said came forward with information and were interviews in March, 2012, are still under publication ban. So is the bulk of their conversations.
A little over a week after the election, the affidavit states, Sona “advised several of his acquaintances of participation in the false calls made to Guelph electors.”
Multiple witnesses also described Sona as “someone given to exaggeration, and telling ‘outlandish…tall tales,’” the documents read. Some friends were unsure whether to buy Sona’s boasts of misdirecting voters.
Two witnesses, staffers for a Tory MP who met Sona to catch up several days after the election, “told me that they were not sure whether to believe Sona’s account or not,” Mathews states.
The documents note several witnesses were interviewed in the presence of Tory party lawyer Arthur Hamilton.
Hamilton could not immediately be reached for comment Monday.
Sona’s lawyer Norm Boxall declined to comment.
“My view is that the appropriate place to comment is in court and that trials should be heard in court not in the media,” he said in an email Monday.
Sona is facing charges under the Elections Act in connection with thousands of robocalls directing voters to incorrect polling stations on election day. The 24-year-old was working on Guelph candidate Marty Burke’s campaign during the 2011 election, which gave Stephen Harper’s Conservatives their first majority government. Sona has maintained his innocence, said he did not have the means to execute a systematic robocall campaign, and both he and his lawyer said he’s being used as a scapegoat for the actions of others.