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'Cyclist of the Fens' goes back to court to demand damages
The so-called “Cyclist of the Fens,” the man who gained notoriety for knocking a little girl to the ground on a snowy path 18 months ago, is back in court in Verviers, RTBF reports. This time, the civil case to be heard has been brought by the cyclist himself as he seeks damages from the father of the little girl who videoed and posted about the incident on social media.
The cyclist believes that by posting the video of the incident, which took place on the High Fens on Christmas Day in 2020, the father has harmed his reputation. The cyclist’s lawyer claims the posting of the video amounts to harassment and has compared it to ‘revenge porn’.
The father has always maintained that the video, which is still a viral hit on the Internet, was posted to try and identify the cyclist who is seen trying to pass the little girl and her mother on a narrow path on the High Fens before seemingly extending his knee to knock the child to the ground as he goes by.
The cyclist’s lawyer say that the man has been ridiculed and threatened since the video went viral and has not been out on his bicycle since. The lawyer is claiming damages of around €4,500 – the value of the now redundant bike – but will accept a symbolic euro in compensation to show that you cannot publish everything and anything on social networks.
The lawyer for the girl's father has pleaded for freedom of expression. The video was shot in a public place and the scene would have been witnessed by everyone present. The video, the lawyer claims, only contains information: the inappropriate behaviour of a cyclist on a snowy path. This behaviour has been debated; the information was therefore of interest to society, it was argued.
The judgment will be announced on September 13.