Charges against Cecil the Lion hunter dropped - Lawyer

Harare - A court in Zimbabwe has agreed to drop the charges against the professional hunter involved in last year's high-profile killing of Cecil the Lion, Theo Bronkhorst's lawyer said on Thursday.

Bronkhorst led US dentist Walter Palmer on the hunt that resulted in the death in early July 2015 of Cecil, a magnificent black-maned lion from Hwange National Park.

Cecil's death sparked a global outcry and a backlash against the big game hunting industry in Africa. 

Bronkhorst was accused of failing to stop the hunt.

Lawyer Perpetua Dube told News24: "The charges that were brought by the state in August last year have been set aside."

"There was no full trial but the [High Court] judge has decided that the charges as they were brought at that time were not properly constituted. He’s agreed with us on that point. And that is all there is to it," she said in a telephone interview.

"It’s not an acquittal, so it doesn’t have that effect," she added.

Bronkhorst's lawyers had applied to have the charges against him dropped last year when the Zimbabwe government said it would not pursue Palmer over the case.

Said Dube: "I think [Bronkhorst] is relieved… this has been a pretty harrowing experience for him. It’s been a long year."

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