The Dutch man accused of cyberbullying and extorting a Port Coquitlam teenager has been extradited to Canada to face charges before a B.C. Supreme Court.
Aydin Coban, 42, had been locked up in a Dutch prison after being convicted on several criminal charges.
As of last summer, a Canadian investigation was in waiting as the federal Department of Justice waited for the conclusion of Dutch legal proceedings before continuing with its extradition request.
A spokesperson for the Department of Justice told the Tri-City News in August Coban had withdrawn his appeal of the Dutch conviction, opening the door for a Dutch supreme court to approve his extradition to Canada.
On Friday, the BC Prosecution Service confirmed to the Tri-City News the man has since been transferred to B.C., where he remains in custody and faces five charges, including extortion, two counts of possession of child pornography, communication with a young person to commit a sexual offence and criminal harassment.
Coban was first brought before a B.C. court on Dec. 8, 2020, and his next appearance, a pre-trial conference, is scheduled for Feb. 12 at New Westminster Supreme Court.
“No pleas have been entered at this time,” confirmed a spokesperson for the BC Prosecutions Service.
RCMP first charged Coban in 2014, two years after Amanda Todd, who was 15, died by suicide.
In 2017, Coban was sentenced to nearly 11 years in jail for online abuse and for blackmailing 34 young girls and men. As Dutch media reported at the time, Coban was accused of using aliases and blackmailing girls after getting them to send him nude photographs.
In a poignant video widely shared online, the Port Coquitlam girl used flash cards to describe how she sank into depression after she was exploited online, blackmailed and taunted and attacked at school.
Todd’s mother, Carol Todd, who is a School District 43 learning resource teacher, youth and mental health advocate, said she had first learned about Coban’s extradition back in December and has since been steeling herself for the wave of attention surrounding his trial.
“I’ve taken eight years to go through the healing process,” she said. “This is a whole different process once again. It brings back all the memories, all the stories and all the tragedies.”
“We will hear of things that he allegedly did to my daughter, so that will be another shock to the system.”
When asked whether she will attend the trial, Todd didn’t hesitate.
“As hard as it’s going to be, it’s a must,” she said. “She will always be my daughter, I will always advocate for her and it’s important for myself to be there to hear of the things that this man allegedly did to her.”
Since Amanda Todd’s death, her story has taken on proportions larger than life, inspiring years of advocacy and education around cyberbullying and the exploitation of young people.
“You look at the stories out there, they’re still happening — maybe 10-fold because of the technology. And with COVID, things have increased so much.”
She added: “Back in 2012, when Amanda made her video, she wanted it to be shared. Who would have known that eight years later it has 50 million views — more? She did go viral.
“Unfortunately, she never lived to understand that.”
— With files from Diane Strandberg