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'Amanda got justice': Dutch man accused in B.C. teen sextortion case found guilty on all charges

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A Dutch man has been found guilty on all five counts related to the online sextortion of British Columbia teen Amanda Todd.

Aydin Coban was convicted of extortion, harassment, communication with a young person to commit a sexual offence, possession of child pornography and distribution of child pornography

The verdict was handed down in B.C. Supreme Court Saturday, less than 24 hours after the jury began deliberations. The trial lasted nearly two months and took place over a decade after Todd died by suicide in 2012 at the age of 15.

“My body went into temporary shock,” said Amanda's mother Carol, describing how she felt when hearing the verdict. “There’s been so many disappointments along the road, right? To hear five 'guilties' – it was like, Amanda got justice.”

Todd’s death followed a video she posted online wherein she described being tormented by a harasser. The video, seen by millions of viewers since her death, saw her use flash cards to describe her experience with the anonymous cyberbully. The cry for help and Todd’s subsequent death shone a light on the issue of online harassment.

“This is a monster who practices his terror without weapons,” said legal expert Ari Goldkind. “He uses the internet, uses cyber-bullying as his method and it cost people lives.”

Coban’s lawyers expressed disappointment with the verdict.

“This is not what we hoped for or expected,” said Joe Saulnier, Coban’s lead counsel. “So we’ll speak to our client. An appeal is a possibility.”

Todd’s mother hopes the trial results in a landmark precedent.

“It’s time for ‘sextortion’ to be written into the criminal code,” said Carol Todd. “So our families and our kids can be safer.”

Coban was extradited to Canada in late 2020 after he faced a trial in the Netherlands on similar allegations. He was convicted of fraud and internet blackmail and given the maximum sentence of 10 years and eight months. Dutch legal authorities described the sentence as “the devastating consequences of his behaviour” on the lives of his dozens of victims.

Carol Todd says the victory in court marked the happiest she’s felt in the 10 years since losing her daughter, but that her hard work and healing is far from over.

“It’s not closure,” she said. “It’s just another chapter that has been completed. But Amanda’s legacy lives on.”

Carol Todd says she’ll continue sharing her daughter’s story in order to raise awareness on the seriousness of cyberbullying and “sextortion.”

A sentencing date is expected to be announced on the morning of Aug. 11.

With files from The Canadian Press

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