British Columbia·Video

Defence seeks 6-year sentence for Dutch man who harassed Amanda Todd

A Dutch man is set to return to B.C. Supreme Court on Wednesday as his multi-day sentencing for harassing and extorting teenager Amanda Todd resumes.

Sentencing hearing for Aydin Coban, 44, resumed in court on Wednesday

An artist's rendition of Aydin Coban pictured in B.C. Supreme Court in New Westminster shows a man with long salt and pepper hair and a moustache staring ahead.
A sketch of Aydin Coban, 44, in B.C. Supreme Court in New Westminster on Tuesday. Coban is being sentenced for several charges related to his extortion and harassment of teenager Amanda Todd in the final years of her life. (Felicity Don)

WARNING: This article contains details of sexual extortion and may affect those who have experienced it or know someone affected by it.

The defence team for a Dutch man convicted of harassing and extorting teenager Amanda Todd in the years before her death has recommended he be sentenced to six years behind bars, calling for a punishment half the length of the term Crown lawyers are seeking.

During the sentencing hearing in B.C. Supreme Court on Wednesday, defence lawyers said they don't dispute Aydin Coban's online torment toward Todd deeply affected her in the years before she died by suicide in 2012.

Still, the team argued the Crown's recommended 12-year prison term was "disproportionate" to his offences and asked instead for a six-year term.

Coban is already serving an 11-year sentence in the Netherlands for similar offences against children as young as eight. He has been in custody since 2014 and will be eligible for parole in that country by August 2024.

The Crown has recommended his Canadian sentence be served after the Dutch one ends.

Carol Todd, Amanda Todd's mother, is pictured during a break from Aydin Coban's sentencing hearing on Wednesday. Coban, 44, was convicted of harassing and extorting Amanda in the last years before she died by suicide in 2012. (Ben Nelms/CBC)

Coban, 44, was convicted in B.C. Supreme Court in August of several offences related to an unrelenting online attack against Amanda that lasted nearly three years.

Amanda endured online stalking and abuse as Coban, who was then in his 30s, hid behind nearly two dozen aliases and threatened and blackmailed her starting in 2009. She was 15 when she died.

Amanda's parents read victim impact statements to the court during the first day of the hearing on Tuesday, describing their all-encompassing grief and struggle to understand the "lurking evil" tormenting their daughter online.

Coban was not charged in direct connection with Amanda's death, but the Crown has told his hearing his sextortion scheme was "morally repugnant,'' he refuses rehabilitation, is at a high risk to reoffend and must be separated from society for a lengthy period, to protect children.

Defence lawyers on Wednesday said Coban lived in the Netherlands and Belgium after his parents emigrated from Turkey. They said Coban's plans to reintegrate into Dutch society with his friends and family after his local prison sentence "bodes well" for rehabilitation. 

The sentencing hearing is expected to continue all week.

WATCH | Amanda Todd's mother speaks outside court as sentencing begins for Aydin Coban

Amanda Todd's mother speaks outside court as sentencing begins for Aydin Coban

1 year ago
Duration 1:05
Amanda Todd's mother, Carol Todd, said she hopes to see jail time for the Dutch man who harassed and extorted her daughter before her death a decade ago.

Support is available for anyone who has been sexually assaulted. You can access crisis lines and local support services through this Government of Canada website or the Ending Violence Association of Canada database. ​​If you're in immediate danger or fear for your safety or that of others around you, please call 911. 

If you or someone you know is struggling, here's where to get help:

This guide from the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health outlines how to talk about suicide with someone you're worried about.

With files from Renee Filippone and The Canadian Press