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Crown begins closing arguments in Amanda Todd ‘sextortion’ trial

Crown prosecutors have begun their closing arguments in the trial of a Dutch man accused of harassing and extorting B.C. teen Amanda Todd before her death.

Aydin Coban, 44, has pleaded not guilty to five charges, including criminal harassment, extortion, possession of child pornography and communication with a young person to commit a sexual offence.

Coban is not charged with Todd’s death.

Prosecutor Kristen LeNoble told the 12-member jury Monday that the Crown’s closing arguments would be broken into five parts, and likely extend over several days, as prosecutors tied together evidence from more than 30 witnesses and 80 exhibits to make their case.

LeNoble said by the time Crown has laid out its case, there will be no doubt Coban is the person who used 22 fake social media profiles to mount what lead prosecutor Louise Kenworthy has called a “persistent campaign of sextortion” against Todd between 2009 and 2012.

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LeNoble spent Tuesday going through a timeline of the four main “episodes” in which Todd was harassed and extorted, laying out, in detail, the order and the content of the messages she received and unpacking how they constituted criminal offences.

The extortionist’s various personas took different approaches, she told the court, ranging from direct and bullying to the appearance of being a “concerned” third party. Other accounts were used to befriend the teen and collect personal information to use against her during four main episodes, LeNoble said.

The incidents began in the winter of 2009 just before Todd turned 13, with messages from two accounts threatening to send a video of her to family, friends and local newspapers, the court heard.

Click to play video: 'Mother of Amanda Todd testifies in case of Dutch man accused of harassing 15-year-old before she took her life'

Mother of Amanda Todd testifies in case of Dutch man accused of harassing 15-year-old before she took her life

Mother of Amanda Todd testifies in case of Dutch man accused of harassing 15-year-old before she took her life – Jun 6, 2022

LeNoble walked the jury through three other episodes, one in the winter of 2010, one in the spring of 2011 and one in the fall of 2011.

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In each case, the extortionist used a new batch of fake online profiles to try and sexually blackmail the teen, LeNoble said, though with a consistent pattern.

“Initial contact from one or more aliases demanding webcam shows or else materials would be distributed, and then distribution by accounts of links to what the Crown says is images or videos of Amanda Todd,” LeNoble explained.

LeNoble read out the contents of dozens of messages, such as one from a YouTube user called Whatisthisman11, threatening to send a topless video of the teen to 17 family members and 52 schoolmates if she didn’t perform 10 explicit web cam shows for him.

“Look camwhore- enough nice guy act, you’re going to do what you’re told or I will f– your life up bad, got it?” one message stated.

“This, in the Crown’s submission, is a real sledgehammer,” LeNoble said. “The demand is very clear. Ten shows where you do as I say and I will disappear or I will f— up your life.

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Crown wraps its case in Amanda Todd ‘sextortion’ trial

“These messages are luring messages, they are extortion messages, and they are harassment messages. All three elements of all three offences we have been discussing as we go along are present.”

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LeNoble also read out an emotional message Todd wrote to her cousin in late December, 2010, in the aftermath of her tormentor posting an explicit video of her online for the first time.

The message offers an insight into the teen’s mind at the time, compared to the rebellious side her parents saw and her apparent disinterest in talking to the police about the harassment, LeNoble said.

“About a year ago I flashed about 200 guys on YouTube because they were begging, and I thought it wouldn’t matter, and so I did. And when I did I got all these compliments that made me feel beautiful. But then he came back and messaged me that if I didn’t do stuff with him on cam he would send it to teachers, coaches, friends and family,” the message reads.

“I’ve been sick. And then so the cops came to my door at 4 a.m. and told me he posted it. I got texts from people saying ‘Why did you do it?’ I didn’t. I wrecked my life over. The cops are investigating and they’re trying to find him. All I want you to do is be there for me. I no longer have any access to computer or Facebook. I’m sorry about all of this.”

The four other parts of closing arguments, expected in the days to come, will focus on the content of messages Todd received and suggest how they were all authored by one person, address the child pornography charges, review Facebook evidence and demonstrate how the messages were sent by one person, and finally demonstrate how Coban was the person behind the 22 accounts, Crown told the jury.

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Click to play video: 'Crown wraps up witnesses in Amanda Todd trial'

Crown wraps up witnesses in Amanda Todd trial

Crown wraps up witnesses in Amanda Todd trial

The trial is now in its seventh week. The Crown called its last witness last Tuesday, and Coban’s defence indicated Tuesday it was not calling any witnesses.

The trial has heard from Todd’s parents, numerous Dutch witnesses including police officers who flew to Canada for the trial, and a number of digital forensics experts.

The defence has said that while there is no doubt Todd was the victim of crimes, the matter at trial is who actually sent the offending messages to her — which must be proved beyond a reasonable doubt.

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There is no link between Coban and the online extortionist, the defence has maintained.

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Todd took her own life in October 2012 at age 15.

Not long before her death in 2012, she posted a video on YouTube chronicling her ordeal, which gained worldwide attention and became a rallying cry against cyberbullying.

In the video, Todd silently held up a series of flashcards describing the torment she endured.

© 2022 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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