A sentencing hearing scheduled Tuesday for the Dutch man convicted of harassing and extorting B.C. teen Amanda Todd in the years before her death was delayed, after the lead Crown prosecutor tested positive for COVID-19.
Sentencing for Aydin Coban, 44, is now scheduled to resume Oct. 11, and last for up to four days.
Appearing by video at BC Supreme Court in New Westminster, lead prosecutor Louise Kenworthy told the court the Crown and defence remained “quite far apart” on their proposed sentences.
Coban’s lawyer Joseph Saulnier opposed the hearing delay, arguing that under the “conditions of temporary surrender” upon which he is in Canada, he should be returned to the Netherlands quickly after the trial.
“It’s only two weeks … Two weeks is nothing compared to how long we’ve waited for this trial to happen,” Amanda’s mother Carol Todd told Global News.
She noted the new date is just one day after the ten-year anniversary of her daughter’s death, as well as World Mental Health Day.
“It’s fitting that Oct. 11 was chosen because it is that conversation about Amanda, her memory, her legacy, and what we are doing to make it better in the world for all of us, including adding exploitation and sextortion into that conversation now.”
A jury convicted Coban in August of extortion, harassment, communication with a young person to commit a sexual offence, and possession and distribution of child pornography in the high-profile trial, that saw numerous Dutch witnesses testify.
The Crown argued that Coban had used a network of nearly two dozen online accounts to mount a “consistent campaign of sextortion” against the teen between 2009 and 2012.
Coban used a topless video of the teen he had obtained to try and blackmail Todd into performing sexual acts on webcam, and at points followed through on the threats, the court heard.
In her closing arguments, Crown prosecutor Louise Kenworthy told the jury a “treasure trove” of data located on hard drives in Coban’s bungalow in the Netherlands left no doubt he was the offender.
Coban’s defence argued there was no question Todd was the victim of crimes, but that the evidence did not prove his client was the online extortionist.
The jury delivered a unanimous guilty verdict in under 24 hours.
Todd took her own life in 2012. Coban was not charged in her death.
Not long before her death she uploaded a video to YouTube, in which she silently held up cue cards describing her torment.
The video went viral and drew international attention to online harassment.
Coban was extradited to Canada in 2020 to face trial.
Before he was extradited, a Dutch court sentenced him to almost 11 years in prison for similar online offences following a trial in Amsterdam in 2017, where he was accused in the online abuse of 34 girls and five gay men. That information could not be reported during his Canadian trial due to a publication ban.
The Dutch court heard Coban pretended to be a boy or girl and persuaded his victims to perform sexual acts in front of a web camera, then posted the images online or blackmailed them by threatening to do so.
He was convicted of fraud and internet blackmail and given the maximum sentence for what Dutch legal authorities described as “the devastating consequences of his behaviour” on the lives of his victims.
-With files from the Canadian Press