A Belgian cyclist who went viral after being filmed kneeing a girl and knocking her to the ground as he passed her and her family has won his court case against his father for posting the footage online.
A court will determine in April next year how much compensation he is entitled to after successfully arguing he was defamed.
The footage was filmed by five-year-old Neia’s father, Patrick Mpasa, during their family walk in a nature reserve in Baraque Michel, Liège province, on Christmas Day 2020.
The cyclist was brought before the Verviers court, where he was given a suspended sentence for having been widely criticized on social media and was ordered to pay the girl’s family a paltry compensation of 1 euro.
Even though the video clearly shows him hitting the young woman dressed in pink, causing her to fall to her knees, the 62-year-old cyclist, who has not been publicly identified, surprisingly took Mpasa to court to sue him for defamation.
A Belgian cyclist (left) who went viral after being filmed kneeing a girl and knocking her to the ground as he passed her and her family has won his court case against his father for posting the footage online.
In the video, the five-year-old girl is seen walking alongside her mother along the snow-covered road while the cyclist approaches them from behind.
Just as he rides alongside the girl, he extends his knee, hitting the girl and knocking her to the ground before continuing on his way unmolested.
The family believed it was not an accident, since the man did not stop to check if the girl was okay and continued pedaling down the road.
However, the court decided that the cyclist was free to leave because he had already received enough criticism on social media over the incident.
But the stoy did not end there. Almost a year after the incident, the cyclist returned to court to sue the girl’s father for defamation.
He did it based on that the backlash the video received made him feel so threatened by the public that he was afraid to leave his own home.
Jacques Englebert, Mpasa’s lawyer, said in response to the defamation suit at the time: ‘We have the right to express ourselves. We have the right to publish or have published a video on the Internet. In this case, we must check whether we have exceeded the limits of this freedom of expression.’
The cyclist continues riding his bicycle while the girl falls to the ground in Baraque Miche
However, Englebert’s arguments were not strong enough in court and Mpasa lost the case and could be ordered to pay compensation.
In the footage, which went viral online, the cyclist is seen coming out of a bend in the snowy road before crashing into the girl and sending her falling into the snow.
Furious father Patrick Mpasa, who had been filming his wife and two children, later shared the video on social media asking if people agreed he was right to report it to the police.
Mpasa said he chased the man and managed to stop him, but the cyclist did not relent.
“He explained what happened and asked us to withdraw the police report, but he did not show any remorse or apologize,” Mpasa said at the time.
“A lot of people tell me I should have hit him, but I don’t agree and, in any case, he was in front of my children, which would have made things even worse for them. I don’t want a witch hunt either, I just want him to apologize.
the family soon He lodged a complaint with the police and both the cyclist and witnesses were asked to come forward.
During a court hearing on February 3, 2021, the cyclist claimed that the incident had occurred because he had tried to maintain his balance.
He said: ‘As I was walking close to the girl, I felt my back wheel slip. To avoid a fall, I balanced myself with a knee movement. I felt like I might have hit the girl, but I didn’t immediately realize that she had been knocked down.’
But the prosecution argued that his This statement seemed very unlikely.
The cyclist came around a curve in the snowy road before hitting the young woman and causing her to fall into the snow.
“He was just annoyed by the people on the road, whom he had to constantly avoid,” they said. “She gave the boy a ‘knee bump’ out of pure annoyance because for the umpteenth time there was an obstacle in his way.”
The local cyclist association called the man’s behavior “unacceptable,” but the The judge opted for lenient treatment, arguing that the man had no intention of harming the girl, the incident was minor and had already been criticized on social media.
The judge added that the cyclist had already been detained for some time when he was arrested, and ruled that the unnamed man must pay the girl’s family a symbolic compensation of €1 (86 pence) for the incident.
Although the cyclist faced up to a year in prison, the court decided to give him a suspended sentence, meaning he will not face any punishment for his actions as long as he does not reoffend.