Two Quebecois cousins passing through Saskatchewan in search of wild mushrooms picked up the wrong hitchhiker last year.
They wound up defending themselves from an attempted robbery – possibly involving a machete – that earned one of their attackers a nine-month sentence, according to a court ruling released this month.
The cousins, Fidel and Daniel Brochu of Montreal, are in the business of buying wild mushrooms. They ventured to the Buffalo Narrows area, where a recent forest fire gave them hope of particularly fruitful harvests.
They picked up Philip L. Laliberte on June 12 and gave him a ride to Buffalo Narrows. That initial meeting was uneventful, but they would soon meet Laliberte again.
The Brochus set up in the parking lot of the Freedom Centre in Buffalo Narrows, where they went to work trimming their mushrooms. Laliberte approached with a friend, Stuart Chartier, and soon began teasing Daniel Brochu about his accent.
“At this point, Fidel Brochu told them to go away and they did,” the court judgment reads. “Regrettably, they did not stay away.”
The “pestering” continued. Laliberte grabbed Fidel’s paring knife. Fidel told him to stop. A minor shoving match broke out. The conflict quickly escalated.
“Suddenly,” the judgment continues, “Mr. Chartier, who was standing nearby, produced a machete and declared: ‘I have a knife!’”
The cousins put up their hands. Laliberte demanded money from Fidel, who had now, apparently, had quite enough of the situation.
“As it turns out, Fidel Brochu can look after himself,” the judge wrote. “In response to Mr. Laliberte’s second demand for money, Mr. Brochu punched him in the head and knocked him to the ground.”
For more on this story, see the Tuesday, October 17 edition of the Prince Albert Daily Herald.