WARNING: This article contains details about sexual extortion and may affect those who have experienced it or know someone who has been affected by it.
The BC Supreme Court court in the trial of a Dutch man accused of harassing and extorting teenager Amanda Todd told the jury on Friday to “be extra careful” with the teen’s statements, and closed for a week. long process with final instructions to the judges before they begin deliberations.
Judge Martha Devlin said the jury should be aware of the limitations of evidence given since Todd’s death in 2012 because she failed to testify and could not be questioned at Aydin Coban’s trial in New Westminster, BC
Devlin gave her instructions for several hours on Friday and said jurors should carefully examine the statements Todd gave to her parents, police officers and in her electronic communications when considering Coban’s verdict.
At the start of the trial two months ago, 44-year-old Coban was not guilty of extortion, intimidation, communicating with a young person to commit a sexual offense and possession and distribution of child pornography.
Speaking outside the courthouse on Friday, Todd’s mother said she believed the Crown did “a very good job” explaining the complexities of cybercrime, extortion and case law to the jury during the trial, while the defense “blamed her on the victim.” and “embarrassed” deceased daughter.
Carol Todd said it was difficult to describe her feelings.
“I’m hopeful, but I can’t base my hopes on 100 percent because if I don’t hear those words – ‘guilty’ – five times, I’ll be really upset, I’ll be very disappointed and I’ll go down that rabbit hole I just have to look at it realistically and hope for the best,” she said.
Before summarizing the evidence and testimony provided during the 38-day trial, Devlin was careful to say Friday that Coban was not charged with Todd’s death.
Todd died by suicide on October 10, 2012, at the age of 15, after being exploited online over a three-year period. Before she died, she told her story in a nine-minute video on YouTube.
The video spread around the world after her death, with 14.8 million views in August.
Crown Prosecutor Louise Kenworthy told the jury in her opening statements that Todd had been the victim of an ongoing campaign of online “sextortion.”
Todd’s mother, Carol, attended Coban’s trial every day, sitting at the back of the courtroom a few yards from the jail where the accused sat with his back to her.
THE FIFTH ESTATE | Amanda Todd’s sextortion
Support is available for anyone who has been sexually abused. This gives you access to crisis lines and local support services Government of Canada website or the Ending Violence Association of Canada Database. If you are in immediate danger or fear for your safety or that of others around you, call 112.
If you or someone you know is struggling, here’s how to get help:
This guide from the Center for Addiction and Mental Health describes how to talk about suicide with someone you are concerned about.