Sporza.be has reported that final arguments have been presented in the veterinarian Landuyt case involving seven ex-riders, including Johan Museeuw, Chris Peers, Jo Planckaert and Mario De Clercq.
Defence lawyers have called for the acquittal of the group, saying that although cyclists no longer protected by the criminal court may be punished this should not occur as they already have already received a suspension in relation to the offences.
The Constitutional Court found differently however, outlining that riders have to be punished twice, with Frank Vandenbroucke cited as the precedent for such actions. The man who recently announced he's aiming to make a comeback in 2009 received a sporting sanction in the form of a suspension in 2004 before being punished in relation to criminal activity stemming from doping offences.
The defence team in this case has stated that overwhelming confusion surrounding the facts means that the principle of 'invincible error' may apply. It is a legal term that has its roots deep in the philosophical arguments surrounding the upholding of the law.
It means that a citizen under law cannot be expected to understand the implication of a laws that are interpreted by different courts in an inconsistent manner. It's a legal technicality that applies in this instance to the interpretation of the Flemish Sports Medical Responsibility legislation.
Under the stipulations present within that law, the riders involved have already punished and therefore can not be prosecuted for a civil court.