Day 7 – December 29, 2010 – Louis

Start from the beginning

Louis

Kenneth (left) and Louis (right)

A few months ago, Louis had an infected appendix which required immediate medical attention.  At that time, he was staying at a low-income Hotel in the Downtown Eastside.  He quickly rushed down the stairs to tell the manager that he needed an ambulance.  That manager refused to call 911.  Louis had no choice but to find the nearest payphone to make his call.  When the ambulance arrived, they took him to the nearest hospital where he received a successful operation in time.

A week after the operation, while Kenneth and Louis were playing PlayStation at Louis’ place, the police stormed in and detained both Kenneth and Louis.  The Police was charging Louis for threatening to stab a shop-owner with a knife.  However, since the store-owner’s story did not add up, they were both released.  Louis had an alibi and so it was impossible for him to have uttered those threats.

The legal system actually encourages Louis to plead guilty.  Even though Louis was innocent, it would be to his advantage to plead guilty rather than pleading for his innocence.  Once the defendant pleads guilty, he/she will do hours of community service, but in return he/she will receive housing, special needs, food stamps and other enticing offers made by the government.

If Louis was to plead for his innocence, these offers would be revoked immediately.  Not only would he lose out on these bribes, but he would also have to stand trial in criminal court.  Since he doesn’t have a steady income, he would depend on Pivot’s services.  Pivot is an organization that offers legal services for low-income people across the province.

After being told Louis’ story, I told Kenneth that I’ll be staying at a shelter tonight.  He told me not to worry about taking someone’s bed because that is how life works.  I left Kenneth with my sleeping bag and thanked him for his advice throughout my stay here in the Eastside.  It was very nice to meet someone who I could trust and depend upon so early in my journey.  He was there for me since day one.

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