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Evidence in Amanda Todd cyberbullying case is circumstantial, defence argues

“The Crown hasn’t proven beyond a reasonable doubt that it was Mr. Coban who authored the messages,” lawyers for extradited Dutch citizen tell jury

The defence lawyers for Dutch citizen Aydin Coban began their closing arguments this afternoon (Tuesday), stating to the jury that Crown Counsel’s case is circumstantial and they should acquit.

Lead defence counsel Joe Saulnier said prosecutors failed to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that his client was the person who extorted, harassed and lured Port Coquitlam student Amanda Todd from 2009–12.

“The Crown hasn’t proven beyond a reasonable doubt that it was Mr. Coban who authored the messages,” Saulnier told the six men and six women on the jury, as well as Judge Martha Devlin at BC Supreme Court in New Westminster.

Coban, 44, has pleaded not guilty to

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

None of the allegations is proven in court.

Saulnier said that Coban was a computer repairman at the time of the alleged offences.

And he raised doubt about the accuracy of Todd’s posts online and with Coquitlam RCMP about her safety.

On the fifth count of criminal harassment, Saulnier questioned whether Todd was scared about the digital content she was receiving, as Crown Counsel alleged the teen was forced to move to a different municipality and change schools because of her “sextortionist.”

Saulnier claimed the move was “unrelated to the online extortion” and alluded to an incident at her old school "involving a boy."

Although her parents and police were concerned about Todd’s online protection, “Amanda Todd was more concerned about her friends’ list,” Saulnier alleged.

Saulnier also argued that sending a URL link doesn’t constitute distribution of child porn and, for possession, the Dutch devices did not contain an original file of Todd.

“No images of Amanda Todd were found on any of the Dutch devices. No videos of Amanda Todd were found on the Dutch devices, let alone child pornography,” Saulnier told the court.

Crown Counsel alleged scrubbing software was located on Coban’s devices.

They also claim Coban was the person behind 22 fake online accounts in a “persistent campaign of online sextortion” against Todd.

The trial continues.