Zimbabwe court postpones trial of Cecil the lion's accused

Reuters News
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Posted: Aug 05, 2015 6:48 AM

HWANGE, Zimbabwe (Reuters) - A Zimbabwean court on Wednesday postponed to Sept. 28 the trial of a local hunter accused of failing to stop American dentist Walter Palmer illegally killing the country's most prized lion last month.

Theo Bronkhorst was arrested last week and charged with breaching hunting rules when he helped Palmer lure Cecil, a rare black-maned lion, out of Hwange National Park and shoot him with a bow and arrow, in a case that caused international outrage online and put the spotlight on big game hunting in Africa.

Bronkhorst has yet to plead in court but has publicly denied any wrongdoing. He appeared for the short hearing in Hwange, western Zimbabwe, where his lawyer requested the adjournment.

Givemore Muvhiringi said another attorney who was meant to argue the case was unavailable and that the defense needed more time to prepare for the trial.

If convicted, Bronkhorst faces a fine of $20,000 and up to 10 years in jail.

Zimbabwe has called for the extradition of Palmer to face trial for poaching. In reaction to the Cecil furor, three U.S. airlines have banned the transport of lion, leopard, elephant, rhino or buffalo remains killed by trophy hunters.

(Reporting by Philimon Bulawayo; Writing by MacDonald Dzirutwe; Editing by Robin Pomeroy)