Friday 20 April 2018

'I did nothing wrong' - man in court over killing of Cecil the lion

Cecil the Lion
Cecil the Lion

Peta Thornycroft in Johannesburg

Zimbabwe hunter Theo Bronkhorst (52), who led the expedition that killed Cecil the lion, appeared in court yesterday on charges of organising an illegal hunt.

Speaking to AFP news agency earlier, Mr Bronkhorst said: "I don't think that I've done anything wrong."

The trial was postponed until next month after an application from his lawyers.

Magistrate Lindiwe Maphosa ordered the trial to reconvene at the court in Hwange town on September 28.

Mr Bronkhorst's client, Walter Palmer, an American dentist, is wanted for questioning by Zimbabwe police after he shot Cecil with a bow and arrow at night, using a spotlight and bait, on July 1 on a farm near the Hwange National Park.

His co-accused, Honest Ndlovu, who occupies land where Cecil was shot, has not yet been charged and may apply or be obliged to become a state witness in the case.

Several Zimbabwe lawyers say the maximum penalty in this case would be about £250 (€360) or one year in prison.

Mr Palmer is wanted in Zimbabwe for questioning

Mr Palmer has apologised for killing Cecil, who was renowned for his distinctive black mane, and blamed Mr Bronkhorst for misleading him.

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

"We shot an old male lion that I believed was past his breeding age," Mr Bronkhorst told AFP.

"We had done everything above board. I don't foresee any jail sentence," he added.

Meanwhile police in southwest Florida say vandals spray painted the words "lion killer" on the garage door of the holiday home owned by Mr Palmer.

Marco Island police Captain David Baer said the vandals also left at least seven pickled pigs' feet on the driveway of Mr Palmer's $1.1m (€1m) home. Capt Baer said police have opened an investigation. (© Daily Telegraph, London)

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