Justice For Amanda Todd


This picture was created by one of her peers. Amanda was tagged in numerous photos similar to this one by her peers after leaving her school. In her video she elaborates on the difficulties she had moving on due to her peers tagging her in similar pictures such as this.

Amanda Todd was 15 when she took her life as a result of online bullying. She was blackmailed into exposing her breasts on webcam to an online predator and was stalked and bullied by him. She changed schools but he found her again and made a Facebook page with her friends showing her breasts as the profile picture. As a result, she was continuously bullied by peers. She committed suicide in October of 2012.  The Canadian justice system is trying to persecute the man allegedly behind this heinous crime, Aydin Coban, but is facing considerable difficulty due to international law regulations.

Aydin Coban resides in the Netherlands and was under suspicion for distributing child porn in Amanda’s case but was not formally charged with her death. Upon further investigation it was determined that Coban had been arrested in January of 2014 for harassing victims online and charges including indecent assault and production and dissemination of child pornography.  A few months later, the RCMP declared that he was also charged with five accounts including extortion, internet luring, criminal harassment and the possession and distribution of child pornography in B.C in relation to Amanda Todd’s case. Coban has been suspected of blackmailing youth from all over the world to perform sexual acts over webcam. He is also facing sextortion and distribution of child pornography in a case of another Canadian youth.

Coban’s trial is currently in pretrial-motion hearings stage; the parties argue before a judge what evidence should be admissible, who can or cannot testify and if the case should be dismissed completely. It has been stated that Coban will not be charged in relation to non- Dutch victims (including Amanda). Christian van Dijk, Coban’s lawyer, has disclosed that Coban is on trial for 39 alleged victims. De Bruin, the Canadian lawyer for Todd has stated that Coban could be handed-over to Canadian authorities if the authorities choose to take that path. Conversely, Van Dijk has explained that extradition is not an option so long as the case continues in the Netherlands.

With the expansion and complexity of technology it has become difficult to determine the jurisdiction and legal implications of international crimes. Cybercrime and exploitation have become easier through the internet and various social media facets. Alternatively, these tools also serve to create social awareness and can be used as tool for victims to have a voice. For instance, Amanda Todd made a YouTube video explaining how she was exploited and bullied.

Countless youths are targeted and blackmailed by unknown faces online and then isolated by their peers when their story is brought to the public eye. Unfortunately, there are still individuals who suggest “don’t show your boobs online “is the solution but the topic is far more complex than nudity, legally and morally. Sometimes victims are unaware that photos are being taken of them or being shared. Predators often have information about the victim’s family, their residence, their school and more to manipulate their victims such was Amanda’s story: .

What are your thoughts?

Do you believe Coban should have a Canadian trial?

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F – fire H-him R-right I-in T-the P-public eye

Hydro One had a different take on the FHRITP phrase. Shauna Hunt, a City TV reporter was recently the victim of the F-Her Right In The P- outburst and decided to take a stand against the vulgar behaviour. She confronted the hecklers and explained their behaviour was disrespectful and degrading. She then asked why they would partake in such behaviour. The heckler continued to defend his actions and told her that it was hilarious. Hydro One, his employer, did not find this behaviour as comical.

Soon after the video went viral, the heckler was fired from his six figure salary. Hyrdo One argued that he had violated the company Code of Conduct and that they would not allow for any kind of harassment or discrimination within the environment.  Along with human rights issues, there can be criminal implications for yelling vulgar comments into a camera during a live broadcast.

Many individuals support Hydro One’s decision and believe this is an example to follow. For that reason, Hydro One redeemed their name and image in the face of bad publicity. Many people applaud Hydro One’s decision to terminate the hecklers job but some disagree.

Some individuals argue that the comment was not in a work setting thus it should not impact the employees’ job.  However, due to social media, it is easy for employers to see what you are doing outside of work.  Many companies expect their employees to respect basic human rights and not participate in discriminating behaviour, at least publicly, outside of work.  Consequently, some lawyers are arguing that the heckler should change his name as finding employment will now be challenging for him.

There has been an increasing trend of job terminations due to unacceptable employee behaviour on social media.  For instance, there was a man who wrote a nasty comment on the memorial page of Amanda Todd (the teenager who had committed suicide due to bullying) someone was able to identify him and contacted his employers which resulted in termination.

The power of social media is massive in today’s world.  A simple hash tag can start a trend against a company defaming them for intolerable practices which often results in change due to public pressure.  An inappropriate picture going viral can result in an individual losing their job where professionalism is a standard, especially if positions of authority.  Sometimes individual’s go through a tough day and just want to vent about their bosses or jobs on social media, this too can be detrimental to your position at work if discovered by the wrong person as it can result in libel and defamation charges.

Social media is a double edged sword; on one end it empowers us to take action against injustice and on the other end is makes us vulnerable to information being misconstrued.  As mentioned in my last post, Facebook pictures are now being used in personal injury cases to assess the validity of a plaintiff’s claims of suffering from depression.  Like it or not, social media has entered the legal sphere and it is here to stay.

Let me know you’ve read the piece by hitting the “like” button below! I’d love to hear your comments!

Discussion points:

1. Should the heckler have been fired?

2. Do you think social media should play a role in the legal realm?

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