Amanda Todd: Defence seeks 6-year sentence for Dutch man who harassed, extorted B.C. teen

Click to play video: 'Defence at Aydin Coban sentencing hearing downplays crimes against B.C. teenager'
Defence at Aydin Coban sentencing hearing downplays crimes against B.C. teenager
The trial of the Dutch man who harassed B.C. teenager Amanda Todd before she took her own life has heard Aydin Coban's defence lawyers ask for half the sentence requested by the crown. Rumina Daya has the details, and the reaction from Amanda's mother – Oct 12, 2022

The man convicted of harassing and extorting B.C. teen Amanda Todd before her death should spend six years in prison for his crimes, his lawyers argued Wednesday.

The sentencing hearing for Aydin Coban, 44, began Tuesday at B.C. Supreme Court in New Westminster. A jury convicted him in August of criminal harassment, extortion, communication with a young person to commit a sexual offence, and possession and distribution of child pornography.

Crown is seeking a 12-year sentence, which defence attorney Elliot Holzman told the court was not proportionate to the crimes committed, and did not match sentences handed down in Canada for similar offences.

“Mr. Coban comes before the court as a first time offender in Canada, there is one victim in this case,” Holzman said.

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“The child pornography materials that were possessed and then used in the sextortion scheme, by Crown’s own written and now oral submissions, were ‘very small’ in number.”

Defence compared the case to others tried in Canadian courts involving multiple victims, longer periods of offending, court order breaches and even international travel to have sex with a minor, in which the offenders were handed sentences in the eight-year range.

Defence also pointed to letters of support from Coban’s mother, sister and a friend, which they argued showed strong family connections and suggested good chances of rehabilitation.

“This is a significant sentence that accords with the relevant purposes and principles of sentencing,” Holzman said.

“We say that the sentences we have proposed appropriately reflect the gravity of the offences and Mr. Coban’s degree of responsibility and blameworthiness.”

Outside the court, Amanda’s mother Carol Todd blasted those sentencing proposals.

“I do not know how defence lawyers sleep at night,” she said.

“If they have children, if they have grandchildren, if they have nieces and nephews — these are our kids we’re talking about out there. And you’re trying to get a lesser sentence for someone who predates and preys on children, extorts them, lures them, grooms, them, distributes them. To me its astounding.”

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Crown outlines aggravating factors

Earlier Wednesday, the Crown wrapped up its submissions by pointing to what it said were numerous aggravating factors in the offences Coban committed, including the repeated threats — which he followed through on three times — to use pornographic images of Todd to “f–k up her life.”

“Mr. Coban’s possession and distribution of the images and videos of Amanda Todd were born of malice,” lead prosecutor Louise Kenworthy said.

“Ms. Todd was not merely a victim of this offence in the sense Mr. Coban was circulating videos and images that happened to be of Amanda Todd so others could be sexually gratified by the child pornography — instead Mr. Coban intentionally possessed and distributed the materials specifically for tormenting her and ruining her life.”

On Tuesday, Kenworthy described Coban as “unrepentant” in his crimes against Todd, who was 15 years old when she died by suicide, and said he remains a risk to children with a high likelihood to reoffend.

Click to play video: 'Sentencing underway for Dutch man who extorted B.C. teen Amanda Todd'
Sentencing underway for Dutch man who extorted B.C. teen Amanda Todd

Todd took her own life in October 2012 following years of targeted harassment. Weeks before her death, she uploaded a video to YouTube detailing the abuse in a series of flash cards. That video went viral, helping cement her as a symbol in the fight against online harassment.

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Over the course of his nearly two-month trial, the court heard that he used 23 online accounts to stalk, groom and extort Todd between 2009 and 2012 using a topless video clip of her as blackmail material.

He sent more than 700 messages, threatening to send the video to friends, family and her school community if she didn’t provide webcam sex “shows,” and in several cases, he followed through on those threats.

On Tuesday, Todd’s mother, father and brother gave their victim impact statements, detailing the torment the girl endured and their lasting pain from her death.

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