Jurors in the Amanda Todd trial heard the dramatic details of the covert investigation and arrest of her accused “sextortionist” on Monday.
Aydin Coban, 43, has pleaded not guilty to five charges, including possession of child pornography, communication with a young person to commit a sexual offence and criminal harassment in the high-profile case.
Taking the stand in person, Dutch National Police Chief Inspector Joerie van Scheijndel described how two plain-clothes officers made a “silent entry” into Coban’s Oisterwijk bungalow on the evening of Jan. 13, 2014.
Van Scheijndel told the court he was monitoring the officers’ body cameras from a nearby residence, and how Coban cut his right eye on a radiator as the arresting officers got control of him on the floor.
Officers put Coban in handcuffs, then blindfolded him and put headphones over his ears so he couldn’t see or hear what was happening, he testified.
Once Coban had been removed, officers collected surveillance devices that had been covertly installed the month prior, he said.
Van Scheijndel told the court he had monitored the bungalow for several weeks prior to the arrest, and that in that time he saw no one but Coban enter or exit.
He concluded his testimony by pointing directly at Coban in the prisoner’s box, describing him as the man he had arrested eight years ago.
The arrest was the culmination of a lengthy police operation, which included police making several covert entries to the bungalow over the week of Dec. 20, when officers learned Coban would be away for several days.
During that operation, police installed microphones and cameras, along with keylogging computer software inside the bungalow.
Officers also photographed documents, including a Dutch passport found under a mattress, and copied multiple hard drives, all with the permission of a judge who appeared via live video for each step of the process.
In one case, a hard drive was too large to copy on site, so police had to remove it, have it copied, then make reentry to the cabin the following day to reinstall it, he said.
Technical information is expected to play a major part in the Crown’s case against Coban.
The Crown alleges that between 2009 and 2012, Coban engaged in a “persistent campaign of online sextortion.”
Prosecutors allege Coban came into possession of explicit media showing Todd baring her breasts and putting her hand in her underwear, which he leveraged in an effort to force her to perform pornographic shows via webcam.
The Crown alleges he then used 22 fake online accounts to either pressure Todd by threatening to distribute the intimate material, or to actually send links to the material hosted on websites to scores of people, including friends, family members or her school community.
The case hinges on the identity of the online extortionist.
Coban’s lawyer has said there is no question Todd was the victim of crimes, but that there is no link between Coban and whoever sent the messages.
Information can be manipulated on the Internet, the defence has argued, and there must be proof beyond a reasonable doubt about who sent the offending messages to Todd.
Defence is slated to cross examine van Scheijndel on Tuesday.
Todd took her own life in 2012 shortly after posting an online video that eventually went viral, in which she silently holds up flashcards describing incidents of harassment and bullying. She was 15.
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