Friend of Amanda Todd testifies that he reported an explicit photo on Facebook to the police

Warning: This story contains details that may disturb readers. Discretion is advised.

A friend of Amanda Todd testified at the trial of her accused online tormentor on Tuesday that she called the police after finding a topless photo of the teenager online.

Aydin Coban, a citizen of the Netherlands, is accused of harassing and extorting Todd before killing herself in 2012, using nearly two dozen online accounts. He pleaded not guilty.

Crown said he will prove that Coban was the mastermind behind the various social media profiles using a combination of technical information and the content of the posts themselves.

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Prosecutors called six witnesses on Tuesday, including James Bennett, 24, who said he was 13 when Todd’s topless photo appeared on various Facebook profiles, including his own.

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Bennett told the court he deleted the photo from his Facebook page and called the police. He said he then posted a message asking others to delete the photo and report it as well.

According to his testimony, the photo was posted by a Facebook user named Austin Collins.

When Crown asked Bennett if he knew anyone by that name, he replied that he didn’t personally, but that they were friends on Facebook. He explained that he wasn’t particularly selective about who he was friends with on Facebook at the time.


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Amanda Todd trial hears from police data analyst


Amanda Todd trial hears from police data analyst – June 28, 2022

Crown alleges Coban was behind the Austin Collins account and 21 others which he used to sexually blackmail Todd and send explicit images of the teenager to friends and family between 2009 and 2012.

The defense did not cross-examine Bennett.

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Questioned in British Columbia Supreme Court in Vancouver after his testimony as to why he felt compelled to report the image, Bennett said he did not want to see it online.

“It was the right thing to do,” he told Global News. “It was child pornography, it was disturbing. I didn’t want these images to be shared with my friend.

Bennett added that it was “infuriating” to find out at trial that he was the only one who reported the image to police at the time.

“I was expecting there to be a group of us in there,” he said.

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Carol Todd, Amanda’s mother, praised Bennett’s actions outside of court after meeting him for the first time on Tuesday.

“For a 13-year-old to be so wise and do this…it warms my heart that he did this,” she said.

“We have to talk to our kids about what’s right, and it was the right thing to do to have it taken out.”

Tuesday’s trial also heard from three RCMP officers who were called in to investigate the 2011 online harassment complaint, as well as a former vice-principal at the school Amanda attended who told the court that she had helped support the 15-year-old. .

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Coban pleaded not guilty to five counts, including possession of child pornography, extortion, criminal harassment and communicating with a youth to commit a sexual offence.


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Aydin Coban trial hears defense questioning Dutch police actions


Aydin Coban trial hears defense questioning Dutch police actions – June 22, 2022

The defense has not yet given its closing argument. Coban’s attorney, Joseph Saulnier, previously said that while there’s no doubt Todd was a victim of crimes, the question at trial is who was responsible for the messages.

The defense maintains that there is no connection between Coban and the online extortionist, and that the Crown must prove beyond a reasonable doubt who actually sent the messages Todd received.

Shortly before her death in 2012, she posted a YouTube video chronicling her ordeal, which captured worldwide attention and became a rallying cry against cyberbullying.

In the video, Todd silently holds up a series of flashcards describing the torment she endured.

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The trial is expected to last another three weeks.

— with files by Simon Little

© 2022 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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