The defense argues a man convicted of sextorting the Port Coquitlam teenager should get six years in prison instead of the 12 the crown is seeking.
The Dutch national convicted of “sextorting” Port Coquitlam student Amanda Todd should be banned from communicating online for 15 years, Crown Counsel filed this morning (October 12).
Lead prosecutor Louise Kenworthy also asked BC Supreme Court Justice Martha Devlin to order a lifetime gun ban on Aydin Coban, whose hearing is taking place in the New Westminster Law Courts this week.
Coban, 44, was found guilty by a jury in August on five counts:
- Import and distribution of child pornography
- possession of child pornography
- Communicating with the intention of attracting a child
- criminal harassment
Crown Counsel is seeking a combined 23-year sentence, reduced to a total of 12 years behind bars, to serve consecutively with his current 10-year sentence in the Netherlands, which ends in September 2023.
The Crown is seeking a court stay of the third conviction: possession of child pornography, based on the Kienapple Principle (a person cannot be convicted of two offenses related to the same offence).
Kenworthy told the court that Coban “was aware of the psychological damage he was causing to Amanda Todd.”
“Ruining her life was his goal,” she claimed, noting the “shame” and “humiliation” he inflicted on the 15-year-old girl who took her own life 10 years ago after sharing a YouTube video about her struggles released that went viral.
Pushing for a higher sentence for sex crimes involving children, Kenworthy told the judge that Coban had refused to participate in psychological evaluations while he was in prison in the Netherlands and at the North Fraser Pre-Trial Center in Port Coquitlam was.
Kenworthy also noted that Dutch parole officers rated Coban as a high risk of recidivism.
“He must be isolated from society to prevent further harm to children,” urged Kenworthy.
Meanwhile, defense attorney Elliot Holzman argued Wednesday morning (October 12) that his client should receive half the sentence the Crown seeks: six years in prison instead of a dozen.
In his submission, Holzman presented to the judge as evidence three letters that speak of Coban’s character: from his mother (written by Coban’s older sister); from his older sister; and by his childhood friend, Kenan Gokcinar (his brother Adem testified against Coban during the nine-week trial).
Additionally, as of January 2015, Holzman offered to offer a psychiatric evaluation of Coban.
He argued that the Crown’s 12-year sentencing position was “disproportionate” given that Coban was a first offender in Canada and his actions involved a child.
For the proposed six-year total sentence, Holzman suggested imposing Devlin
- three years for extortion
- 1.5 years for importing and distributing child pornography (following the extortion sentence)
- 4.5 years for children’s lure (concurrent)
- two years for criminal harassment (running concurrently)
He called for the penalty to be reduced overall – meaning that the penalty for all offenses should not be exaggerated.
Holzman also offered some personal background information about Coban, who was flipping through legal documents on a laptop in the jail cell during Wednesday’s hearing.
Coban was born in the Netherlands as the son of Turkish émigrés. He lived in both Tilburg and Ghent, Belgium, and his father, a car salesman, died when Coban was 17. Because of financial problems, Holzman said, Coban dropped out of school to work and support the family.
Holzman said his client was in close contact with his family before he was extradited to Canada in 2020, and they describe Coban as “generous” and “hard-working.”
When asked by Devlin about Coban’s lack of participation in prison programs in the Netherlands and Canada, Holzman replied, “He keeps to himself.”
Holzman also dismissed the Crown’s claim that Coban’s actions were the “primary cause” of Amanda Todd’s suicide on October 10, 2012.
And he argued that as an adult, Coban was not in a position of trust as he ran 22 fake aliases across four social media platforms. “They were practically strangers,” Holzman said of Coban and Todd’s digital connection.
Holzman also pointed to several Canadian precedents, including the landmark Child Exploitation Supreme Court of Canada case, R. v. Friesen, calling for better protections for minors from sex offenders, and R. v. Sinclair, a Manitoba Court of Appeals case, in which the defendant was sentenced to eight years in prison.