TORONTO – Michael Sona, the former Conservative staffer convicted last month in the 2011 robocalls scandal, has been granted bail pending an appeal of his conviction and sentence.
Crown lawyer Nick Devlin confirmed the Ontario Court of Appeal decision Monday.
The Crown contested Sona’s bail application last week, but agreed it would be worthwhile for the Appeals Court to review whether his nine-month sentence was appropriate.
Sona was the only person to be charged after some 6,700 automated phone calls were placed on the morning of the 2011 federal election with misleading information on how to vote.
Sona had been in jail since Nov. 19, when he was convicted under the Canada Elections Act of wilfully preventing or endeavouring to prevent an elector from voting.
His lawyer, Howard Krongold, argued Sona’s sentence was unnecessarily harsh, given that he’s already suffered considerably in the aftermath of his arrest.
Krongold said as a young first-time offender with good rehabilitation prospects, Sona deserved a shorter jail term.
“Quite frankly, he’s been front page news; his life has been completely devastated and turned upside down,” Krongold said before Appeal Court Justice Harry LaForme during last week’s hearing.
“Nobody who was thinking about offending would look at Mr. Sona’s situation and want to be in his shoes — even if he were to be given a short, sharp jail sentence, house arrest, that sort of thing.”
While last week’s bail hearing focused on the appeal of the sentence, Sona is also challenging his conviction.
In a statement issued through a friend and posted to Twitter on the day he was sentenced, Sona continued to insist he had “no involvement in the fraudulent phone calls.”
“Furthermore, although I have suspicions based on media reports I’ve read, as other Canadians do, I have no (personal) knowledge who on the … campaign was responsible for these fraudulent phone calls,” Sona said.