Digital investigator with Dutch police testifies at B.C. harassment trial

·2 min read

NEW WESTMINSTER, B.C. — The first police witness from the Netherlands has appeared at the jury trial for the Dutch man accused of extorting British Columbia teenager Amanda Todd.

Wybren van der Meer appeared in B.C. Supreme Court via video conference and spoke through a translator to describe his examination of a wireless router at a home near the location of Aydin Coban's arrest in January 2014.

Coban has pleaded not guilty to charges of extortion, harassment, communication with a young person to commit a sexual offence and two counts of possessing child pornography.

Van der Meer, a digital investigator with Dutch national police, testified that he went to the home in a holiday park as part of an investigation into a particular internet protocol address and examined the router to identify devices that had recently been connected to it.

He told the court he found a device with a particular "MAC" address, describing it as a unique identifier assigned to each computer or mobile device, along with an IP address assigned by the internet service provider.

Under cross-examination by defence lawyer Elliot Holzman, van der Meer agreed that a password was necessary to access the neighbour's Wi-Fi network and distance from a router is a factor when it comes to connecting to a wireless network.

He told the court he didn't know whether Wi-Fi was available in the home where Coban was arrested, and he was not aware of the distance between the homes.

At the start of the trial on Monday, Crown prosecutor Louise Kenworthy said Todd had been the victim of a persistent campaign of online "sextortion" from November 2009 to February 2012, before her death at age 15 in October that year.

Kenworthy told the jury the person had more than 20 separate usernames to contact the teenager from Port Coquitlam, threatening to send her friends and family photos that showed her with her hand in her underwear and exposing her breasts, unless she performed sexual acts in front of a web camera.

She said the Crown expected to call witnesses to show that the numerous accounts allegedly used to harass and extort Todd were operated by Coban.

The jury was also expected to hear from a B.C. RCMP officer who examined the contents of computers and hard drives seized from Coban's home and found evidence linking him to the teen, Kenworthy said.

Carol Todd, Amanda's mother, testified this week that there had been conversations on social media about what happened to her daughter after a video Amanda posted about her experience went "viral" online.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published June 9, 2022.

Brenna Owen, The Canadian Press

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