NEWS

Charges laid against senior after town officials stabbed

01/16/2012 05:05 EST | Updated 03/17/2012 05:12 EDT

A 70-year-old man is accused of stabbing two municipal officials in a Quebec town over a land claim dispute.

Rolland Belzil was charged with two counts of attempted murder, two counts of aggravated assault, possession of a weapon and breach of probation during a court appearance Monday in Sorel, Que.

Before his lawyer could enter a plea, the judge ordered that Belzil undergo a 30-day psychiatric evaluation at the Philipe Pinel Institute, a mental health hospital in Montreal. The judge told the court he is not convinced Belzil is fit to stand trial.

Richelieu Saint-Laurent police said the general manager of Verchères and his assistant were stabbed Friday, in the town located about 40 kilometres northeast of Montreal.

Police said the stabbing was related to an apparent conflict over land rights that has been going on for more than a decade.

Belzil's 80-year-old neighbour, Ronald Malo, was also killed Friday. No charges have been laid in connection with his death.

Police said Belzil and Malo had faced each other in civil and criminal courts.

In both cases, the courts ordered Belzil to stay away from his neighbour, but he was never incarcerated.

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