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Komagata Maru urine vandal off the hook 0

Jeremy Nuttall

By Jeremy Nuttall, 24 hours Vancouver

A man who was photographed peeing on a memorial to victims of the Komagata Maru incident will not be charged say Vancouver police. (PHOTO SUBMITTED)

A man who was photographed peeing on a memorial to victims of the Komagata Maru incident will not be charged say Vancouver police. (PHOTO SUBMITTED)

The man photographed relieving himself upon a memorial dedicated to the victims of the Komagata Maru has escaped charges.

The Vancouver Police Department said Monday the man who urinated on the Coal Harbour memorial in December “had been located and spoken to.”

“The man has been made aware of the cultural significance of the memorial and that his alleged activity in and around the memorial was inappropriate and insensitive to the South Asian community,” Sgt. Randy Fincham said in an email. “As a result of the investigation, it has been determined that charges will not be laid.”

Pargan Mattu was snapping pictures of the large plaque near the Vancouver Convention Centre Dec. 2 with a friend from India. A man then approached them and asked, “What are you guys trying to prove?”

According to Mattu, the man threw his soccer ball at the memorial before peeing on it.

On Monday Mattu said he was surprised to hear the man wasn’t charged.

“If I can pee somewhere, or you pee somewhere, you get a ticket,” he said. “I don’t know what’s going on here.”

The memorial honours the 376 passengers of the Komagata Maru incident who in 1914 were denied entry into Canada after a long voyage from India because of their race.

The sign was erected in 2012 and initial news of the man desecrating it prompted public outrage as well as the anger of city officials.

However, Fincham said the requirement for a criminal charge wasn’t reached.

“In laying a charge, investigators would need to establish that a criminal offence took place, laying a charge was in the public interest and that there was a substantial likelihood of a conviction,” he said. “In this case, it was determined that all three criteria had not been established.”

Mattu plans to follow up with police.

 

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