24News reported today that Bronkhorst, the Professional guide who arranged the hunt that ended the life of Cecil the Lion, has had his bid to refer his case to the constitutional court refused.
In court in the town of Hwange which is in the district where Cecil was killed, Magistrate Dambudzo Malunga said that the indictment charge was very clear and specific and stated, ‘the accused is a holder of a professional hunter’s license”.
This is a very important point, as the charge which Bronkhorst is facing is that of “failing to prevent an illegal hunt.” In terms of the laws pertaining to his professional hunting license, the guide is to ensure that he “…..prevent(s) any unlawful hunting.”
When Cecil the Lion was killed back in July this year, it caused a worldwide uproar, as Cecil was a well-known animal that was collared. Collared lions enjoy even more protection than normal lions and the fact that this was a guided hunt rather than a poaching incident horrified millions of animal lovers. What started out as a bad day for Bronkhorst became a lot worse when he failed to notify authorities that his hunt had killed a collared lion and by his own admission to the press, he had hung the collar in a tree instead.
Cecil was thirteen years old when he was killed by Palmer, an American bow-hunter. He was collared as part of an Oxford University research project. Cecil was often viewed by tourists to Hwange National Park and was, therefore, a very well-known lion. After Cecil's death, it was feared that his cubs would be killed by Jericho, the potential successor of Cecil in the pride.
There are allegations that Cecil was baited out of a protected area, but the details will no doubt be verified during the court case. In the meantime, the magistrate has adjourned the court case to the 20th November and said the accused will be “accorded a fair trial.”
Perpetua Dube, Bronkhorst’s lawyer told 24News that they intend to appeal to the High Court for a review. Last week Zimbabwe dropped all charges against the hunter who killed Cecil as his hunting permits and papers were complaint with Zimbabwean law.