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Device seized from alleged extortionist played ‘AmandaTodd’ video, Crown lawyer says

Click to play video: 'Closing arguments underway in Amanda Todd ‘sextortion’ trial'
Closing arguments underway in Amanda Todd ‘sextortion’ trial
After more than seven weeks of witness testimony, the jury in the Amanda Todd sextortion trial is now hearing closing arguments from the Crown. As Catherine Urquhart reports, prosecutors are recapping their case against the Dutch man accused of harassing and extorting the B.C. teen before she took her own life – Jul 26, 2022

A Crown attorney has told a jury that a device seized from the home of the Dutch man accused of harassing and extorting Amanda Todd had played a video saved under the B.C. teenager’s name.

Marcel Daigle recalled expert testimony from earlier in the trial of Aydin Coban, when a digital investigator with Dutch national police told the court the video had been played in December 2010.

Daigle told the jury that the date it was played corresponds directly with a time when Todd was being actively harassed and extorted.

Coban has pleaded not guilty to extortion, harassment, communication with a young person to commit a sexual offence and possessing child pornography.

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Click to play video: 'First look at extensive evidence seized during Amanda Todd investigation'
First look at extensive evidence seized during Amanda Todd investigation

The Crown doesn’t know what the video depicted because it had been deleted by the time Coban was arrested in January 2014, Daigle said. But the Dutch expert said it had not been streamed online, and instead had been played from a file that existed on the seized device.

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Multiple devices found in Coban’s home had deletion software described as an “anti-forensics” program used to delete files so they can’t be restored, Daigle said.

The jury has seen evidence throughout the eight-week trial showing Todd’s harasser repeatedly demanded that she perform sexual “shows” on a web camera, or sexualized images of the teen would be sent to her family and classmates.

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The harasser followed through on that threat, sending links to a pornography website depicting Todd to her family and classmates, the trial has heard.

Another Crown prosecutor, Louise Kenworthy, told the jury at the start of the trial that Todd had been the victim of a persistent campaign of online “sextortion” over three years, before her death at age 15 in October 2012.

The Crown also focused Thursday on proving that 22 different accounts used to harass Todd across several online platforms were operated by the same person.

Click to play video: 'Trial of alleged Amanda Todd harasser hears of ‘covert operation’ at holiday house'
Trial of alleged Amanda Todd harasser hears of ‘covert operation’ at holiday house

Daigle highlighted similarities in language and phrasing, along with references to previous threats sent by different aliases, saying there was “overwhelming” cohesion.

Fellow Crown attorney Heather Guinn took the jury through Facebook records and previous expert testimony linking many of the different aliases to each other and to the same device, saying it showed one person was behind the accounts.

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The Crown would review the evidence linking Coban to Todd and the numerous aliases in greater detail before finishing its closing argument next week, Daigle said.

He showed the jury evidence that a photo of Todd exposing her breasts was used as a Facebook profile picture by one of the accounts used to harass her.

Daigle recalled expert testimony from a digital forensic specialist with Vancouver police, who had said the only way to display a profile picture on Facebook was to upload the image, meaning it had to have been stored on a digital device.

“If you accept my submission that there was one sextortionist, then this is evidence, this one photo, this is sufficient evidence … to conclude that the sextortionist had child pornography in their possession,” Daigle told the jury.

More than one of the numerous accounts used to harass Todd displayed images of the teen as their profile picture, he said, and evidence showed the images were created by capturing screen shots of a video that showed her exposing her breasts.

Daigle told the jury it did not matter who originally created the videos and images depicting Todd in a sexual manner. What mattered, he said, was that the extortionist possessed and distributed the content, knowing it was child pornography.

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Earlier this week, the jury was shown a Facebook post by Todd in which she expressed fear that the person harassing her would continue for the rest of her life.

Todd urged people on Facebook to block one of the harasser’s accounts, saying a “sick pedophile” was blackmailing her, another Crown attorney, Kristen LeNoble, said on Wednesday.

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