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Michael Sona, defendant in the robocalls case, walks to the courthouse in Guelph, Ont., on June 4, 2014. (DAVE CHIDLEY/THE CANADIAN PRESS)
Michael Sona, defendant in the robocalls case, walks to the courthouse in Guelph, Ont., on June 4, 2014. (DAVE CHIDLEY/THE CANADIAN PRESS)

Accused in robocalls case thanked ‘Pierre’ for win, witness says Add to ...

Michael Sona, a former Conservative campaign worker charged in connection with misleading robocalls, celebrated the party’s election victory in 2011 by saying “thanks to Pierre,” a witness testified Wednesday.

Andrew Prescott, who was deputy campaign manager for Conservative candidate Marty Burke in Guelph in 2011, said it was the first time he heard the name Pierre in connection with the campaign.

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The robocalls have been linked to the fake names Pierre Jones and Pierre Poutine.

Prescott, who was offered immunity in exchange for his testimony, said Sona was celebrating the Conservative victory on election night.

Sona said, “thanks to Pierre,” and then laughed, Prescott testified.

Prescott said that on the morning of the election, he saw Sona emerge from his cubicle in the campaign office shaking ecstatically.

He described Sona as “almost euphoric” as he said, “It’s working.”

Prescott said he did not ask Sona what he meant.

Prescott also told court he was ordered to halt a robocall campaign on the day of the election.

He said he was a regular user of the automated dialing services provided by the Edmonton-based company RackNine.

Prescott said he used two RackNine accounts on election day: one was his own, while the other was one he accessed through campaign manager Kenneth Morgan.

The Crown alleges that Sona, 25, spearheaded a scheme to mislead non-Conservative supporters by ordering more than 6,700 automated calls to voters with incorrect information on where to vote.

Sona is charged with “wilfully preventing or endeavouring to prevent an elector from voting.”

Prescott said he was approached by Morgan on election day and told: “I need you to stop the calls.”

“I was extremely hesitant because obviously I caught wind there was stuff going on that day; we started receiving media reports of fake calls that were going around,” he testified.

“Whatever was going on, I did not want to get involved.”

He added that he tried to avoid looking too closely at what he was seeing on his screen as he cancelled the robocall campaign.

“Knowing [that] what was going on was something I didn’t want to get involved in, I kept my vision very limited,” he said.

Prescott said he didn’t mention the incident to anyone until contacted by Elections Canada months later.

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