February 26th, 2024

A Dutch court has sentenced a man convicted in a notorious Canadian cyberbullying case to 6 years

By Mike Corder, The Associated Press on December 21, 2023.

AMSTERDAM (AP) – A Dutch man, who was convicted in British Columbia of charges including extortion and harassment related to a Canadian teenager who took her own life after he blackmailed her online, had his sentence cut Thursday by an Amsterdam court from 13 years to six.

Aydin Coban wasn’t present in Amsterdam District Court for a brief hearing to announce the sentence. His lawyer, Robert Malewicz, said he would appeal the decision to the Dutch Supreme Court.

Coban was extradited from the Netherlands to Canada in 2020 to stand trial on charges linked to Amanda Todd, who took her own life in 2012 at the age of 15 after posting a video that described being tormented by an online harasser. Coban was born in 1978, according to court documents, making him 44 or 45.

He was sent to Canada on condition that his sentence would be served in a Dutch prison. That also meant that prison time imposed by the British Columbia Supreme Court last year had to be converted into a sentence in the Netherlands.

In July, Dutch prosecutors said the Canadian sentence should be cut to four-and-a-half years, in line with sentencing guidelines in the Netherlands and time he had spent in tough conditions in a Canadian jail.

The court ruling didn’t take into account his time behind bars in Canada and sentenced him to the maximum possible six years.

Coban is serving an 11-year sentence in the Netherlands after being convicted on similar charges involving the online extortion of 33 young girls and gay men. The sentence imposed Thursday will be served after he completes his current prison time next year.

Malewicz had called the Canadian sentence “exorbitantly high, even by Canadian standards” and said Coban shouldn’t get any extra prison time, but if the court decided to give him prison time, it should be no more than one year with six months suspended.

“We will go to the Supreme Court,” he told reporters after Thursday’s brief hearing.

Todd’s suicide brought the problem of cyberbullying to mainstream attention in Canada after the Port Coquitlam teen posted a video on YouTube in which she used handwritten signs to describe how she was lured by a stranger to expose her breasts on a webcam.

The picture ended up on a Facebook page, to which her friends were added.

She was repeatedly bullied, despite changing schools, before finally taking her own life weeks after posting the video.

Last year, a jury in British Columbia last year convicted Coban of all charges he faced, including communication with a young person to commit a sexual offence and possession and distribution of child pornography.

Sentencing Coban last year, Canadian Justice Martha Devlin said that the “serious impact of the offences on Amanda was obvious to Mr. Coban and would have been obvious to anyone at the time.”

She added that “ruining Amanda’s life was Mr. Coban’s expressly stated goal. Sadly, one that he achieved.”

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