Robocalls Judge Says Trial Date Will Be Set ‘If There Needs To Be A Trial’

During a pre-trial conference in Guelph on Thursday, federal prosecutors and the lawyer for Michael Sona and Crown prosecutors conferred upon each other ending with a suggestion from the judge that there might not be a trial. Justice Norman Douglas informed lawyers to meet again on Sept. 25, and alleged that “if there needs to be a trial, we’ll set the date at that time,” indicating that the case could be heading for some other outcome.

Communications director for Conservative candidate Marty Burke, Sona, is facing one charge under the Elections Act related to fraudulent Election Day robocalls in Guelph, Ont., which routed hundreds of opposition supporters to the wrong polling station. In case convicted, he might be fined $5,000 and end up spending up to five years in prison. According to the recently released court documents by Elections Canada investigator, Allan Mathews, Sona admitted to involvement in the scheme, though Mathews also alleged that he “suspected that others were involved as well.”

The sworn statement submitted by Mathews includes several sections that can’t be published under a publication ban agreed to by the Crown and Sona’s lawyer. After the conference Sona’s lawyer, Norm Boxall, alleged that Sona has not yet decided whether to face a trial by judge or jury. He alleged that “the decision of election is not yet made,” and “those are part of the ongoing discussions. The accused obviously has a choice in this case. As you can imagine in a case like this, there are a number of things continuing to go on, investigative-wise, and review-of-material wise.”

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