08/14/2014 12:34 EDT

Michael Sona: 'I Thought This Would Turn Out Different'


Michael Sona, the former Conservative staffer found guilty of trying to prevent voters from casting ballots in the 2011 federal election, says he isn't sure yet if he will appeal the decision.

But thoughts of prison are clearly weighing on his mind.

"Oh well," he told The Huffington Post Canada by phone shortly after the verdict was handed down in a Guelph courtroom Thursday.

"It's fine, it's fine."

Sona, 25, was the only person charged in the so-called robocalls scandal, in which automated calls were set up to target Guelph voters — most of them Liberal supporters — with misleading directions on where to vote. He faces up to five years in prison.

Edmonton-based technology company RackNine was hired to make the calls to nearly 7,000 Guelph phone numbers by a customer who used fake names, including the pseudonym "Pierre Poutine."

Sona said the trial was "rough on the parents." A reporter said Thursday that his mother and father left the courtroom in tears.

Sona also broke down over the phone.

"I don’t know. Nothing," he said, when asked what was going through his mind. "It's probably prison."

"I thought this would turn out different."

Crown lawyers wouldn't say Thursday if they will seek jail time. Defence lawyer Norm Boxall said he will review the judgment with Sona before determining the next steps.

"There has never been a case like this in Canada before so it's precedent-setting," Boxall told reporters.

Justice Gary Hearn said the evidence proved beyond a reasonable doubt that Sona "was involved in the scheme very actively." But both Boxall and Crown attorney Croft Michaelson told Hearn they believed more than one person was involved in the plot.

As he has throughout this saga, Sona maintained his innocence.

His sentencing hearing is scheduled for October 17, less than two weeks after his 26th birthday.

- With files from The Canadian Press

Michael Sona