10/17/2014 11:15 EDT | Updated 12/17/2014 05:59 EST

Michael Sona's robocalls conviction doesn't merit prison, lawyer argues

Michael Sona shouldn't be sentenced to prison for his part in unleashing misleading robocalls during the last federal election, his lawyer argued Friday.

Norm Boxall told a judge in Guelph, Ont., that the offence, while serious, is not one that requires Sona to be incarcerated for the protection of society. Boxall said Sona does not need rehabilitation because he will never commit such a crime again.

Sona was found guilty in August of trying to interfere with voters' ability to cast ballots in the May 2, 2011, federal election. At the time, he was working as the director of communications for Guelph Conservative candidate Marty Burke. Liberal MP Frank Valeriote held on to the seat.

Sona is now 26 years old and working as a machinist's apprentice, his lawyer told the court. He left politics because of the conviction. Boxall said Sona has great support from his family and has received a glowing report from his current employer.

Sentencing in this case will be difficult because it involves a good person committing a serious offence, Boxall told Judge Gary Hearn.

The process has been "very stressful for him and [he] was concerned about what this brought to his family," Boxall said of Sona.