Is the Komagata Maru pisser related to a cop, judge, or politician?

Police should rethink their decision not to recommend any charges in the case of the unnamed man who urinated on the Komagata Maru memorial at a Coal Harbour park.

The incident—which occurred on December 2 during daylight hours and in front of witnesses, at least one of whom took pictures—provoked outrage from citizens, politicians of all stripes, and the South Asian community.

The man, whom police did not identify in a December 13 emailed news release quoted by various media outlets, was clearly visible in the widely disseminated photos and would, presumably, be readily recognizable.

Yet after police located and spoke to the man—and, according to Sgt. Randy Fincham, told him of the memorial installation’s “cultural significance” and how pissing on it “was inappropriate and insensitive”—they reached the conclusion that the requirements for a criminal charge were not there.

This is puzzling, to say the least.

The man’s behaviour and words to witnesses of South Asian descent, including at least one visitor from India, seemed obviously racist. There can be no doubt about that.

However, even if a charge of committing a hate crime seemed unsupportable to Crown prosecutors (and one could reasonably see wanting to preserve that rare charge for serious crimes involving extensive property damage or serious personal injury or death), there is still Vancouver’s 1989 Health By-Law No. 6580.

Under the provisions of that by-law’s clause 4.21, no one may spit, urinate, or defecate on “any public street, lane, or park”. A fine of up to $2,000 is provided for those who contravene said section.

Why did police or the Crown not proceed with such a relatively light punishment for such a hateful act?

Fincham said that three criteria had to be met for a charge to be laid and that “all three criteria had not been established”.


Did a “criminal offence take place”? Indisputably, observed by witnesses and photographed.

Was there a “substantial likelihood of a conviction”? Of course; see above.

Would it be “in the public interest” to lay a charge? It’s almost insulting to have to respond to that one, but let’s just answer that by asking if it would be in the public interest not to lay a charge? What should anyone, much less members of the South Asian community, think in such circumstances?

The first thought that might occur—and, indeed, undoubtedly has—to many people would be, “Who is that guy related to? A cop, a judge, or a politician?”

Or how about, “So it’s okay not only to piss in public, in daylight, and in front of witnesses, but it’s also okay to do so in as disrespectful and insulting a manner as possible and not expect any repercussions.”

Lock up your churches, people.

In 2009, a drunken British student urinated on a war memorial in Sheffield and outraged an entire country. In court, the judge told Philip Laing that he could be sent to jail but that he and his family had suffered enough because of the nationwide publicity and scorn. He sentenced Laing to 250 hours of community service.

Granted, Vancouver isn’t Sheffield, but we have provisions for punishment, and they have, without explanation, not been utilized.

Recently, a Victoria teen was convicted of distributing child pornography because she texted inappropriate photos of her boyfriend’s ex-girlfriend.

That’s a perfect example of using laws to set an example and come down hard on behaviour that needs to be curtailed. The desired effect of basically freaking out an entire generation of social-media users was obtained, even if it was the legal equivalent of using a pile driver to push in a thumbtack.

Back in the 1970s, when Vancouverites flocked south of the border to Blaine, Washington, to drink on Sundays, drunken Canuck revellers were sometimes charged with indecent exposure if caught urinating in public while stumbling between watering holes.

That gave them records as sex offenders upon conviction, and they could be prevented from ever crossing the border again. The locals were outraged by their behaviour, demanded redress, and the problem was solved.

Really, is the type of behaviour exhibited by the unknown male at Coal Harbour any less deserving of public and legal opprobrium?

If there are extenuating circumstances in the Komagata Maru memorial incident—i.e., mental illness or any reason the man was unable to appreciate the seriousness of his actions—they should have been made public in order for justice (or due consideration of same) to be seen to be done.

Not seem to be done.

Comments (20) Add New Comment
This is Vancouver where Racism is prevalent and nothing much happens to Criminals.

This is a Joke and brings the Justice system into disrepute that a even a Moron like this is not prosecuted or even given a small fine or even Community Service.
Rating: +29
It's frustrating that the guy isn't getting punished, but there is no such charge as a "hate crime", so it is not "indisputable" that a criminal offense occurred. Whether a crime is motivated by crime is only a factor in sentencing.

The person is certainly in contravention of the city by law, but the reality is, that NO ONE faces $2000 or 6 months in jail for a bylaw offense. At best, he'd be looking at a $100 ticket.
Rating: +11
James Blatchford
Perhaps he is a real half-wit, not just acting like one. That might explain the decision...(apology for the crude terminology).
Rating: +3
Martin Dunphy

Thanks for the comment. Actually, there is such a thing as a "hate crime". See sections 318 and 319 of the Criminal Code of Canada.
And I never mentioned six months in jail, just a fine.
Rating: +17
Alan Layton
Lol. There was no outrage, or if there was it only lasted for as long as that news cycle, before people found something else to be outraged about. If it was truly of the significance that you make it out to be it would still be in the news, but it only lasted a day or two. BTW did it ever occur to anyone that the guy did it because he wanted to piss off the two South Asian who were scolding him? Why do you automatically call it a 'hate crime'? Give it a rest Dunphy. Why not actually report on some real news rather than trying to raise something that had almost no impact on society.

The truth is that in under 30 years Vancouver has gone from being almost totally white to almost 1/3 South Asian. Yet the only incident of note was this one doofus pissing on a memorial. Go to India sometime and see some real hate crimes - the type of crimes where people blow each other up because they have a different religion.
Rating: -14
Can't someone (more social media savvy than myself) use facebook to find this guy and publicly shame him if they justice system won't do its job?
Rating: -2
*if THE justice system...
Rating: -6
Alan Layton
"Yet the only incident of note was this one doofus pissing on a memorial"

So how many people of group A have to be assaulted by individuals or groups of others from group B for you to recognize that these events do occur in the Lower Mainland?

I can find at least five examples in about 30 seconds of low level Internet searching, not the least of which being several assaults of elderly South Asian men by non South Asians (think gardeners at temples) in the Lower Mainland. Including at least one fatality.

The fact that you are not aware of something does not mean it does not happen. It is incredible hubris to think or claim otherwise.

So do you care to explain your "one incident" comment ? Did you not know any better, or are you going to try and weasel word your way out by claming that you didnt think those incidences were "incidents" equivalent to this one (even though they caused fundamentally more harm than this did)
Rating: +11
If he was intoxicated or on drugs the charges wouldnt have held as he wouldnt be responsible. What if he is homeless and from the DTES? He should get a stern talking to and thats it.
Rating: -5
It's up to the Crown to charge, not VPD.

We had a similar case in Ottawa at the National War Memorial:
Rating: -1
Alan Layton
MD Just effing relax. Quit making a mountain out of a molehill because nasty, little, isolated incidents happen all of the time and it doesn't mean that planeloads of South Asians are going to be refused entry or that concentration camps are next. One of my buddies, who is white, had the crap beat out of him by a group of South Asian males for dating 'one of their women' but that's life. He knew what the consequences were going to be when he started dating her, so he only had himself to blame.

I watch/read a lot of news and this story died quickly because it's not a big issue. But regardless of that, you aren't going to force people from having reservations about other cultures no matter how much you shame them. And even so, you have no idea what this guys motives were.
Rating: -17
I can understand not charging him with a Hate Crime, ignorance is bliss! BUT, to not charge him with ANYTHING???? Personally, I think he should be made to do community time at a temple so he can learn and hopefully understand the people that he was urinating on!
Rating: +11
Martin Dunphy
Alan Layton:

It is news because the police made it news by issuing a release that day.
This commentary was a reaction to that story, which, by the way, was picked up by most news outlets, not only the Straight.
And there was outrage at the original report last December, whether you were aware of it or not.
So perhaps you should be the one to "relax" and "give it a rest".
And have a nice day!
Rating: +8
Pat Crowe
Interesting to note that a few years back a couple of Vancouver boys on the party in Mexico decided to relieve themselves on a Catholic shrine.
They were treated like murderers by the police and citizenry and thrown into Mexican jail hell for a nice spell. I do remember how contrite they were when interviewed upon release and back in Canada. I believe they said they were very sorry for what they had done...and wouldn't be going back to Mexico ever fucking again.
That punk who pissed on the Komagatu Maru Memorial should have been thrown in the slam right now for that! A little attitude adjustment, like the Vancouver boys in Mexico got.
Rating: -6
Oh Boy
I'm sure if the author did his "research" and actually read the sections of the criminal code he is spouting about, then he would surely know that "hate crimes" are only aggravating circumstances that add to sentencing for a separate criminal charge. So only had this guy been charged with a separate crime (such as mischief) could hate crime sections of the criminal code apply. The sections quoted in the comments section by the author are for advocating genocide (sec 318) and inciting hatred that would lead to a breach of peace (sec 319), neither of which apply. Do they have google access at the Georgia Straight to help with future "research" of articles? Because that's all I needed.
Rating: -3
Martin Dunphy
Oh Boy:

I am always happy to see that I inspired a reader to educate herself on an issue, in this case the Criminal Code of Canada.
However, I didn't "spout". I merely supplied some info to a reader who challenged the very existence of hate crimes. In fact, if you had read the piece instead of only the comments, you would see I actually advocated the unnamed male being charged under a Vancouver health bylaw, one for which I already had a hard copy, believe it or not.
Hoist with your own petard, I believe it is called.
Google that.
Rating: +1
I think Marty doth protest too much (However, I didn't "spout") Yes, you did spout with your ridiculous suggestion that sections 318 and or 319 applied.

Certainly it would be appropriate this clown be charged under the applicable Vancouver by-law, but to expect the Hate Crimes unit to run around handing out bylaw tickets is ridiculous. That's what you have bylaw officers for.
Rating: -7
Martin Dunphy

Okay, last time.
Read comment 2. (slim)
read comment 4. (me)
Suggested it applied. (never)
Remedial reading course (strongly suggested).
Rating: +4
@Alan Layton: Going by your past comments its no surprise that you would bring out the south asian female, white male, south asian male scenario, regardless of its veracity(a throw back to the coloniser's sexist mindset of his right to exotic ethnic females subjects). Just like back in the day on those discover vancouver or topix racist discussion boards whenever a south Asian senior or priest got beaten to death by white guys someone like you would pull a reverse racism rant....but just to give your propaganda a jolt of reality I just attended a wedding where the groom was a white guy and the female South Asian at the biggest temple in Surrey with 200 guests from the bride's side but the guy's evangelical parents were conspicuous by their absence. Also, there were least five other such couples where the male partner was of another ethnicity. This is more or less the norm now at any South Asian or Asian event in the lower mainland. Its just that South Asian guys don't let a guy like this or someone who challenges the dignity of their existence walk away scot free.
Rating: -6
Save Vancouver
LMFAO so now it turns out the pisser is a DTES resident and a junkie. Funny how the cries for racial justice and retribution just faded away here.
Rating: -1
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