Cecil the lion trial postponed until Sept

  • 05/08/2015

The trial of professional Zimbabwean hunter Theo Bronkhorst, who led the expedition that killed Cecil the lion, has been postponed until next month after an application from his lawyers.

Magistrate Lindiwe Maphosa ordered the trial to reconvene on September 28 to hear the case against Bronkhorst, who has been charged with "failing to prevent an illegal hunt".

Bronkhorst, who runs a safari company, denies any wrongdoing over the hunt in early July when Walter Palmer, a dentist from Minnesota, paid US$55,000 to shoot the lion with a bow and arrow.

The hunt provoked worldwide outrage when it emerged that Cecil was a well-known attraction among visitors to the Hwange National Park and was wearing a tracking collar as part of an Oxford University research project.

"I feel sorry for my client (Palmer). He is a good man. He did nothing wrong," Bronkhorst told reporters as he left the court in Hwange town.

Palmer, an experienced trophy hunter, became the target of vicious abuse over the killing, and went into hiding after demonstrations outside his dental practice.

Palmer apologised for killing Cecil, who was renowned for his distinctive black mane, and appeared to blame Bronkhorst for misleading him.

But Bronkhorst said he was innocent of all charges and had obtained all the permits required to kill an elderly lion that was outside the national park boundaries.

"I have briefed the advocate and he said he is not available until 28 September," Bronkhorst's lawyer Givemore Muvhiringi told the court on Wednesday (local time).