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Dutch man convicted of sextorting B.C. teen to be sentenced on Friday

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New Westminster, B.C. -

A Dutch man convicted of extorting and harassing Port Coquitlam teen Amanda Todd will learn his sentence on Friday.

New Westminster Supreme Court Justice Martha Devlin said she would begin delivering Aydin Coban’s sentence at 1 p.m.

On the final day of Coban’s sentencing hearing, the 44-year-old’s defence lawyer asked the court to take into account his existing sentence from the Netherlands, and consider a consecutive sentence of two years.

Coban was found guilty by a jury in August on multiple charges related to the online sextortion of Todd, including child luring and possession of child pornography. He is also currently serving a sentence from the Netherlands of almost 11 years for similar offences. The court has heard that sentence is set to end in 2024. Coban has been in custody since 2014.

The Crown is asking for 12 years, to be served consecutively to the Dutch sentence.

Coban’s legal counsel Joe Saulnier told the court as of Wednesday, Coban had served about eight years and nine months of his Dutch sentence, with just under two years left. He asked the court to consider either a concurrent sentence of six years, or reduce it to a two-year consecutive sentence.

“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,” Saulnier said. “The Crown argues Mr. Coban needs to be sent a message that this type of offending carries signifiant consequences. He’s been sent that message.”

At one point, Justice Martha Devlin told Saulnier she was “not bound by the Dutch regime”.

“This is a Canadian court,” she said. “And I’m governed by sentencing in Canada.”

Outside court, Amanda’s father Norm said he is hoping for a high sentence.

“Just for some justice for Amanda, and also I know it’s precedent setting,” he said. “I want a strong precedent out there to reduce this happening in the world.”

He also expressed relief the sentencing is on the horizon, and thanked the Crown and the police for their work on the case.

“I’m excited…that we’re going to get some closure to it,” he said. “It’s been a long journey.”

Amanda’s mother Carol said the defence suggestion of a two-year consecutive sentence is “laughable”.

“That should never even be put on the table,” she said. “He crushed the lives of Amanda, and 34 other young people. They have trauma for the rest of their lives. I have no sympathy for defence, for Mr. Coban.”

During the trial, the court heard how Todd was tormented for years by various online accounts, asking her to perform sexual acts on web-cam, and threatening to share explicit images of her if she didn’t comply.

On Wednesday, prosecutor Louise Kenworthy said Coban first targeted Todd when she was 12 years old, and waged a “two-year campaign” against her. She called Coban’s conduct a “dominant cause” of Todd’s suicide, a characterization which the defence is disputing.

“He was well aware of the profound psychological and emotional harm his actions were causing to her. Ruining Amanda’s life was one of his professed objectives,” Kenworthy said. “Amanda experienced anxiety and depression, turned to alcohol and substance use, lost friendships, and found herself unable to create many new ones while she was alive.”

Todd was 15 years old at the time of her suicide in October 2012. Before she died, she created a video where she silently held up flashcards which described experiences of blackmail and bullying. The video was played in the court on Tuesday, with images of the teen filling the screens around the room.

The Crown is also asking for an order prohibiting Coban from accessing online social media sites, chatrooms, or creating profiles on such sites, as well as using the Internet to communicate with anyone under the age of 18 (unless they are a family member) for a period of 15 years.

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