Cecil the lion hunter's rights violated - lawyer

2015-09-28 21:10
Cecil the lion in Hwange National Park.(Bryan Orford, YouTube)

Cecil the lion in Hwange National Park.(Bryan Orford, YouTube)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Zimbabwe - The rights to a fair trial for the Zimbabwean hunter accused in the Cecil the lion case have been violated, his lawyer said on Monday.

Defence lawyer Perpetua Dube said Theo Bronkhorst, who organised the July expedition for US dentist Walter Palmer to shoot the black-maned lion, was now seen as "an internationally-syndicated criminal".

She said Bronkhorst's rights to a fair trial had been violated by "the definite conclusion that he's guilty; that he's a culprit".

"That is a violation in our view of the right to be presumed innocent until you’re found guilty by a court of law," she said in a telephone interview.

Bronkhorst, 52, was due to go on trial on Monday for failing to prevent an unlawful hunt in the first week of July in Hwange National Park.

But his lawyers said the charges that Bronkhorst was facing in the Hwange Magistrate's Court were "vague and incomplete" and they had made an application to have them quashed.

"We made an application for referral as well to the constitutional court. The state has asked for time to respond," Dube said.

The court will now rule on October 15 whether the trial will go ahead, or whether it should be referred to the highest court. Bronkhorst could face up to 15 years in jail if convicted but might get off with a fine.

In an apparent reference to a July statement by Environment Minister Oppah Muchinguri, Dube said: "There have been several violations that we've cited in the application.

"We have listed his right to a fair trial, especially with reference to the presumption of innocence."

In July, after the killing of Cecil came to light and stirred worldwide outrage, the Zimbabwean environment minister issued a statement accusing Bronkhorst and Palmer of being part of an "organised gang" that conspired to "to undermine Zimbabwean laws".

Meanwhile, it emerged on Monday that Bronkhorst would face three separate sets of charges in three different courts in October.

The latest charge the 52-year-old hunter is facing is that of breeding sable antelope illegally, his lawyer confirmed. He will have to appear in a Bulawayo court on October 19 on that charge. He also has to go on trial on October 5 on charges of trying to smuggle sable antelope into South Africa.

He has denied the charges.

Read more on:    zimbabwe  |  cecil the lion

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.

Inside News24


Book flights

Compare, Book, Fly

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.