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

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      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.




      Jan 14, 2014 at 6:19pm

      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.


      Jan 14, 2014 at 8:37pm

      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.

      James Blatchford

      Jan 14, 2014 at 9:30pm

      Perhaps he is a real half-wit, not just acting like one. That might explain the decision...(apology for the crude terminology).

      Martin Dunphy

      Jan 14, 2014 at 9:58pm


      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.

      Alan Layton

      Jan 15, 2014 at 8:36am

      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.


      Jan 15, 2014 at 10:36am

      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?


      Jan 15, 2014 at 10:36am

      *if THE justice system...


      Jan 15, 2014 at 11:09am

      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)


      Jan 15, 2014 at 12:25pm

      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.