Why the judge in the Sona case thinks the Crown witness was likely involved

Michael Sona was convicted on the evidence of a number of people. His friends, testifying reluctantly for the most part, painted a picture Mr. Justice Hearn found convincing – of a young man with a flair for drama, who loved his role in a political act of criminality. Michael Sona was so thrilled with the fraud committed in Guelph that he boasted of it after the fact.

The judge found the main Crown witness, the Deputy Campaign Manager of the Conservative campaign in Guelph, completely unconvincing; a man whose testimony the Crown so desired that it granted him immunity from prosecution. Andrew Prescott emerges from the judgment as a person without credibility and as a likely participant in the scheme. Hearn concluded that his entire testimony was worthless as he was “self-serving” with a “rather unique capability of having his memory regenerated with the passage of time up to and including the date of trial and making statements that even the Crown agrees were incorrect.”

The judge laid out pretty clearly that he thinks the Crown’s main witness was up to his eyeballs in the crime. Here are just a few of the examples of Prescott’s behaviour that I found shocking:

  • Prescott could never explain why he logged into RackNine at 4:15 AM on election day, testifying that he had been “trying to figure that out for two years.” The evidence was that the Guelph Conservative campaign office was pretty busy at 4 AM. Prescott’s story was that he was doing a bit of “business promotion” with the eager young lads gathering round at 4 AM.
  • The judge found it significant, although his tone seemed layered with sarcasm as he noted repeatedly, “it might just be a coincidence,” that Prescott had his own account with RackNine, had set up the IT for the whole campaign, once worked in a Future Shop and had in-depth knowledge of cell phones.
  • “The Crown points out that Mr. Prescott was on vacation and did not return to the office until April 29, but it is of note other than some inquiries being made, nothing actively took place with respect to the downloading of any telephone messages or message until Mr. Prescott was back in the office.” (p 32 Sona decision)
  • Prescott, and not Sona, had access to the Conservative Party database (CIMS) used in the calls.
  • And Prescott not only set up all the computers for the campaign, according to Hearn’s ruling, “ Following the election it was Mr. Prescott that wiped all the computers clean and had them destroyed at some point in time and by the time he was interviewed or at least contacted by Elections Canada none of the computers continued to exist.” (p 32, Sona decision)

Who would destroy the computers used in a campaign? And, if nothing illegal was going on, why would anyone destroy computers?

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