Offensive but not illegal: Komagata Maru Memorial urinator not charged
A man allegedly urinates on the Komagata Maru memorial in Vancouver's Coal Harbour on Dec. 2. (CTV)
Charges will not be laid against the man who was photographed urinating on the Komagata Maru Memorial in downtown Vancouver Dec. 2 last year, according to Vancouver police.
Const. Brian Montague said in an email the actions of the man are reprehensible to many but not a crime, according to the Criminal Code of Canada.
“Urinating in a public place is not a criminal offence in Canada, regardless of the context, unless the elements of an offence are present as set out the Criminal Code. Those elements were not present in this case,” said Montague.
Police assigned an officer from the VPD’s Hate Crime Unit to investigate the case. They identified and interviewed the man but determined no hate crime was committed.
“A hate crime can only be considered an aggravating factor and is not an offence in and of itself,” Montague said.
Police did consider issuing the man a ticket for infringing the city’s public urination bylaw; but determined such a charge would be inappropriate due to “underlying circumstances,” which they did not clarify.
Witnesses believed the man, who appeared disheveled in the photos, was drunk.
Surrey resident Pargan Mattu, who snapped the photos, told CTV News he was showing the monument to a friend visiting from India when the man hurled a soccer ball at it.
Mattu said the man asked, "What are you guys trying to prove?" then started desecrating the monument. The shocked friends threatened to take his picture and call police, according to Mattu, and the man replied, "Do whatever you want."