A former Toronto police officer with digital expertise that includes Facebook records walked jurors in the Amanda Todd “sextortion” trial through the connections behind key accounts on the social media platform Tuesday.
Aydin Coban, a citizen of the Netherlands, is accused of harassing and extorting the teen before she took her own life in 2012, using nearly two dozen online accounts.
Crown has said it will prove Coban was the mastermind behind the various social media profiles using a combination of technical information and the content of the messages themselves.
Jurors heard a second day of testimony from Warren Bulmer on Tuesday, a retired officer with the Toronto Police Service who now works for the Australian Federal Police.
While with the TPS in 2013, Bulmer specialized in computer-facilitated crimes with the child exploitation unit and was identified as a “senior point of contact” between law enforcement and Facebook.
On Tuesday, Bulmer told the court how he had examined an account in the name of Amanda Todd, and took a deep dive into 13 other Facebook records.
Bulmer told Jurors how he uncovered links between multiple accounts, including connections to the same device, the same internet service and the same VPN — a virtual private network used to conceal a user’s true identity.
In one example, he detailed 22 unique IP addresses associated with a Facebook account under the name Alice McAllister.
In opening statements, Crown prosecutor Louise Kenworthy detailed how that account was used to message 16 Facebook users, many of them in the Todd family.
Earlier in the trial, Todd’s mother Carol testified that the message had included a link to a pornographic website with video of her daughter topless on it.
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Defence has not yet had an opportunity to cross examine Bulmer.
The trial hinges on the question of identity.
Crown is seeking to prove that Coban was the person operating the Alice McAllister account and 21 others to sexually blackmail Todd and send explicit images of the teen to her friends and family between 2009 and 2012.
Coban has pleaded not guilty to five charges, including possession of child pornography, extortion, criminal harassment and communication with a young person to commit a sexual offence.
Defence has yet to give its opening argument. Coban’s lawyer Joseph Saulnier has previously said that while there is no question Todd was the victim of crimes, the matter at trial is who was responsible for the messages.
Defence maintains there is no link between Coban and the online extortionist, and that Crown needs to prove beyond a reasonable doubt who actually sent the messages Todd received.
Todd took her own life in 2012 at the age of 15.
Not long before her death, she posted a video to YouTube chronicling her ordeal, which gained worldwide attention and became a rallying cry against cyberbullying.
In the video, Todd silently held up a series of flashcards describing the torment she endured.
— with files from Rumina Daya