R. v. Coban

Khilansha MukhijaCase Summary

Request for a publication ban to hide the accused's identity in an online sextortion trial

R. v. Coban
2022 BCSC 94
In the Supreme Court of British Columbia
Docket X078463
Before Justice Devlin
Decided on January 20, 2022

Relevancy of the Case: Request for a publication ban to hide the accused’s identity in an online sextortion trial

Statutes and Provisions Involved

  • The Criminal Code, 1985 (Section 486.5, 486.6, 486.31)

Relevant Facts of the Case

  • The accused engaged in online sextortion against the victim, AT, aged 12 to 15, between 2009 and 2012. He executed this act in different coercive ways through online aliases, gained access to her explicit sexual content, and blackmailed her.
  • The victim eventually gained into the harassment and committed suicide.
  • The accused faced significant online allegations, which impacted all aspects of his life and compelled him to change his name. Through this application, he requests a publication ban on his new identity.

Prominent Arguments by the Counsels

  • The accused’s counsel submitted that he had faced significant reputational and psychological harm due to online allegations and harassment. He had a severe risk of ongoing harm, including potential threats, harassment, and intimidation from the public or online communities. The imposition of a public ban would ensure a minimal impact on the public’s access to information. It would significantly facilitate his cooperation as a witness in the criminal justice process.

Opinion of the Bench

  • The accused suffered both reputational and psychological harm. The accused’s counsel has established the same by sufficient evidence.
  • He would be at a severe risk of harm if the protection measures were not granted.
  • The impact of a publication ban would be minimal. It will further encourage his full participation as a witness in the criminal justice process.

Final Decision

  • The court granted a publication ban and anonymity order in the accused’s favour.