VANCOUVER -- The man photographed relieving himself on a memorial dedicated to victims of the Komagata Maru will not be charged.
Vancouver police 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 e-mail. “As a result of the investigation, it has been determined that charges will not be laid.”
Pargan Mattu was photographing the large plaque near the Vancouver Convention Centre Dec. 2 with a friend from India.
A man 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 wouldn't be 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 aboard the Japanese steamship Komagata Maru 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.