The cyclist who was filmed knocking over a small child as he made his way down a path in the Ardennes on Christmas Day has been ordered to appear in court on charges of assault, a local prosecutor said.
The video of the incident has made the rounds of social media, with the public sharply divided between those who clearly see a simple accident on a slippery track, and those who see, equally clearly, a selfish disregard for pedestrians by a cyclist who prefers to knock a child to the ground rather than slow down and dismount.
On Sunday, following widespread publicity for the incident, the Verviers division of the Liege prosecutor’s office issued a call for witnesses, leading the to man himself making himself known to the authorities. Prior to that, he had contacted the child’s family and asked them to withdraw their criminal complaint, which they refused to do.
When the 61-year-old, who has not been named, turned up at a police station in the Vesdre zone (Dison, Pepinster, Verviers), he was detained overnight.
When interviewed, the man insisted the whole incident had been the result of an accident. “He explained that he did not realise he had knocked over the child,” the local prosecutor explained, adding that this was not a version of events accepted by the prosecution.
“After the father’s testimony and the analysis of the video, the prosecution considers it to be assault and battery. For that offence, the man could be facing a sentence of up to one year in prison,” she said.