Sept. 20, 2022.
That's the first day of what could be a multi-day sentencing hearing for Aydin Coban, and will come more than a month after he was found guilty on five charges in connection to the "sextortion" of a Port Coquitlam teen.
Amanda Todd, at age 15, committed suicide in her home nearly a decade ago after posting a silent black-and-white video on YouTube about an online stalker by holding flash cards expressing her struggles. It immediately went viral around the world.
Starting Tuesday, Sept. 20, Coban will find out how long he'll serve time after the 44-year-old Dutch national was convicted on charges related to extortion and criminal harassment last Saturday (Aug. 6).
The decision came 10 hours after B.C. Supreme Court Justice Martha Devlin charged the jury, which saw 80 exhibits and heard testimony from 30 witnesses, including nine experts from the Netherlands, Australia and New York — all of whom flew in for the in-person trial at the New Westminster courthouse.
Coban was accused of tormenting Todd with online threats.
During the nine-week trial, prosecutors presented thousands of printed pages in hefty binders, showing evidence of Coban’s chats and calls with Amanda through various personas between Nov. 1, 2009, and Feb. 17, 2012 — some grooming her, others threatening the girl that he would expose naked images of her to her friends and family if she didn’t give him peep shows.
Meanwhile, defence lawyers offered no evidence, telling the jury in their closing submissions that Coban was not the person behind 22 fake online aliases used to lure, harass and extort Amanda.
During the trial, the jury also didn’t hear how Amanda died nor about Coban’s previous conviction in his native country.
The guilty charges were a "happy" moment for Amanda's mother Carol Todd, who has advocated against bullying and cyberbullying since her daughter's passing.
"I was so happy and relieved to hear the guilty verdicts on all five charges," Carol Todd told the Tri-City News following the jury's decision.
"After nine weeks [of trial] and almost 10 years, Amanda’s voice has been heard loud and clear.
"Justice will not bring my daughter back, but her story will continue to bring hope to others that they are not alone, that they matter and that they have many people advocating for them."
Todd, who is now receiving more offers to speak at cyberbullying and extortion conferences around the world on behalf of the Amanda Todd Legacy Society, said she expects Coban will serve his Canadian sentence in the Netherlands.
She told the Tri-City News she was surprised at how fast the verdict came down.
"I didn’t expect it so quickly," said Todd, who positioned herself in the courtroom gallery to get a clear view of his reaction.
During the trial, Coban often caught Todd’s eye before he pulled off his face mask and stepped into the prisoner’s box, where he took notes on a legal pad and on a laptop without internet connection.
"He looked at me when he walked in and I looked at him. He didn't have that swagger anymore because he knew the jury had deliberated less than 24 hours. It was clear."
She added, "I never let up. He picked the wrong girl with the right Mama Bear. Now, he’s been convicted in a separate trial and he gets more jail time. That will protect all of the other girls he abused. I’m happy for the victims that they know he has to spend extra jail time and they don’t have to worry for 2025."
"Sextortion" reports have skyrocketed since Amanda died in 2012.
According to the National Centre for Missing and Exploited Children in the U.S., reports of online enticement shot up 98 per cent between 2019–2020, with mostly teenage boys as the sextortion targets.
Coban is convicted of the following:
- importing and distributing child pornography
- possession of child pornography
- communicating with the intent to lure a child
- criminal harassment
- with files from Janis Cleugh, Tri-City News