Sentencing hearing begins for Dutchman convicted of extorting BC teenager Amanda Todd


NEW WESTMINSTER, B.C. — A sentencing hearing is set to begin today for a Dutchman convicted of stalking B.C. teenager Amanda Todd in the years leading up to her suicide.

A British Columbia Supreme Court jury convicted Aydin Coban last month of extortion, harassment, communicating with a youth to commit a sexual offense and possessing and distributing child pornography.

Crown prosecutor Louise Kenworthy told the jury before deliberations began that a « treasure trove of information » linked Coban to Todd’s harassment, including information found on two hard drives seized from his home.

Lawyers for Coban, who was extradited from the Netherlands to face charges, argued Crown evidence did not prove he was the person behind numerous online accounts used to harass the Port teenager Coquitlam, British Columbia.

Todd’s mother, Carol Todd, said she will present a victim impact statement at the sentencing hearing which is expected to last until the end of the week.

Todd was 15 when she took her own life in October 2012, shortly after posting a video on YouTube that described her being tormented by an online stalker.

She used flash cards to recount her ordeal in the video which has since been viewed by millions, highlighting the harms of online harassment and cyberbullying.

Coban has not been charged in connection with Todd’s death.

Before Coban was extradited, a Dutch court sentenced him to almost 11 years in prison for similar online crimes following a trial in Amsterdam in 2017, where he was accused of online abuse. of 34 girls and five gay men.

This court heard Coban, who is in his 40s, pretend to be a boy or a girl and persuade his victims to perform sex acts on a web camera, then post the footage online or blackmail them into threatening to do so.

He was found guilty of internet fraud and blackmail and given the maximum sentence for what Dutch judicial authorities described as the « devastating consequences of his behavior » on the lives of his victims.

This report from The Canadian Press was first published on September 20, 2022.


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