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Dutch man convicted in Amanda Todd case sentenced to 13 years in prison

The Dutch man convicted of sexually extorting and harassing B.C. teenager Amanda Todd has been sentenced to 13 years in prison.

Aydin Coban learned his fate in New Westminster Supreme Court on Friday, a decade after Todd's suicide prompted a nationwide conversation about cybersecurity and online bullying.

"Ruining Amanda’s life was Mr. Coban’s expressly stated goal, and was sadly one that he achieved," Justice Martha Devlin said while handing down her sentence.

"Mr. Coban deliberately took advantage of a vulnerable and innocent young girl."

Weeks before Todd's death, the young Port Coquitlam resident posted a YouTube video detailing how she had been targeted and tormented by a stranger on the internet.

She took her own life on Oct. 10, 2012, at the age of 15.

Speaking outside court on Friday, the deceased's mother praised the judge for imposing a strict sentence and sending the message that those who victimize children on the internet will be held accountable.

"This will make a difference in the world," said Carol Todd, who became an anti-bullying advocate after her daughter's death. "I have to hope that Amanda's watching from somewhere to see what her voice did for everyone."

Coban, who has been in custody for the last eight years, was found guilty in August on multiple charges relating to Amanda Todd's harassment, including child luring and possession of child pornography.

The 44-year-old is also serving a sentence of almost 11 years in the Netherlands for similar offences, with just under two years remaining behind bars.

Coban's defence had asked Devlin to consider either a six-year sentence that would be served concurrently with his sentence in the Netherlands, or a two-year sentence that would be served consecutively, arguing anything more would be unduly harsh.

"When we’re looking at deterrents and denunciation, the primary principles of sentencing for these types of offences, in my submission we can take into account the Dutch sentence,” defence lawyer Joe Saulnier told the court Wednesday.

The victim's mother called the defence's suggestion "laughable."

Ultimately, Devlin's sentence exceeded even the 12 years the Crown had been asking for in the case. Coban's 13 years in Canadian prison will be served consecutively with the remaining years on his Dutch sentence, meaning he now faces roughly 15 more years of imprisonment.

"I am not confident that rehabilitation is a viable option for him at this time," Justice Devlin said.

Coban is expected to be returned to the Netherlands soon, under the terms of the temporary surrender agreement between authorities in both countries, the B.C. Prosecution Service said.

The court heard Todd was tormented for years by various online accounts, beginning when she was just 12 years old. She was asked to perform sexual acts on webcam, and told explicit images of her would be shared online if she refused to comply, prosecutors said.

A topless photo of Todd was eventually uploaded onto Facebook, where it was seen by her classmates and family.

In her 2012 YouTube video, in which Todd held up a series of flashcards, the distraught teenager recounted being bullied and ostracized at school after the image was shared online.

"I can never get that photo back," she wrote. "It's out there forever."

The teenager's father told reporters he had been hoping for a strong rebuke for Coban, and was pleased with the outcome of the case.

"Everybody pulled together and we got through to the judge and set a really high precedent," Norman Todd said. "I hope (Amanda) sees we got her some justice." 

With files from CTV News Vancouver's Maria Weisgarber Top Stories


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