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Dutch police bugged male suspect's home in Amanda Todd case, chief inspector tells B.C. court

Investigators planted microphones, seized hard drives during covert searches of home of man later extradited to Canada

A chief inspector with the Dutch National Police took the stand at the Amanda Todd “sextortion” trial this morning (June 20) to testify about a search he led at a vacation home in The Netherlands in December 2013.

In the third week of the trial at BC Supreme Court in New Westminster, Joerie van Schijindel told Madam Justice Martha Devlin and the 12-person jury how he and his police team entered Bungalow 55 in the vacation community in Oisterwijk — about an hour's drive south of Amsterdam — for two covert operations.

The first time was on Dec. 20 to place microphones and take photos inside of the home; the second was on Dec. 21 for a court-approved search when the occupant was also not around.

In the latter, he testified, his team was in the bungalow for more than six hours to image and take photos of computers and documents.

Van Schijindel said he held a device that allowed a judge to see and hear what was happening during the raid.

“Everything that we saw, we showed the judge so we could make a decision” as to what could be copied, van Schijindel said.

However, two hard drives couldn’t be imaged because they were so large. As a result, they were seized, copied at a police lab and returned to the address the following day when the occupant again wasn't home, the court heard.

 

POLICE INTERVIEW

Insp. Sjaak Merveld of the Dutch National Police also testified from a Dutch courtroom Monday morning via an interpreter in New Westminster.

Merveld, who was with the child tactical team and part of the “Disclosure Investigation” looking at the online activities of Aydin Coban, told the court he interviewed Coban at a police complex in Houten, in the province of Utrecht, for about 10 hours between Jan. 14 and 24, 2014.

Merveld said he also interviewed two women in January and February, who had supplied police with a copy of a passport photo they received while trying to rent the same Rotterdam apartment from Coban, they claimed.

Merveld confirmed to Crown Counsel that the passport image was the same person he interviewed at the police station.

Merveld said he interviewed Coban five more times in the same location later that year and in 2015.

Coban has pleaded not guilty to 

  • extortion
  • importing and distributing child pornography
  • possession of child pornography
  • communicating via computer with the intent to lure a child
  • criminal harassment

None of the allegations is proven in court.

The trial continues.