Captured in a video which went viral in December, a cyclist bumped his knee into a five-year old girl while passing by, upon which the girl fell face-forward on to the ground.

After a police appeal, the man handed himself in to the police a few days after the incident, which took place on Christmas Day in the Baraque Michel area near Liege. He then spent the night in a cell, according to Belgian media.

At the time, the prosecutor warned he could face up to a year in prison. However, he has instead been ordered to pay a symbolic €1 in damages to the child's family. The judge has also imposed a suspended sentence for one year.

The cyclist, aged 61, was facing charges of intentional assault and battery to a minor. But when delivering its verdict on Thursday, the court in Verviers stopped short of imposing an immediate custodial sentence, reports Le Soir.

Young girl knocked to the ground by cyclist in Belgian High Fens

The court agreed that the footage showed the cyclist was riding too fast and left insufficient space to safely overtake, but said the incident amounted to "an involuntary blow, without intention to attack the person of others".

It added that the cyclist should have paid more attention to the prevailing conditions of snow and frost, "and the presence of many people including children, on this holiday, to adapt his speed and his conduct."

In reaching its verdict, the court took into account the nature of the case, the defendant's character, his lack of previous convictions, and the night he spent in custody.

During a court hearing on 3 February, the cyclist had argued that he had not meant to hit the girl with his knee, telling the judge: "When I was riding close to the girl, I felt my rear wheel slide off. To avoid a fall, I brought myself back into balance with a movement of the knee. I felt that I hit the girl, but did not immediately realise that she had fallen."