The Zimbabwean hunter who led the expedition that killed the famed lion Cecil has failed in his legal bid to have charges against him dropped.
A court ruled that Theo Bronkhorst’s application was “devoid of merit”.
He denies charges of “failing to prevent an illegal hunt”, and is expected to appeal against the ruling.
Last week, Zimbabwe dropped its demand for the US to extradite dentist Walter Palmer, who sparked global outrage for killing the lion in July.
Mr Palmer could not be charged as all his “papers were in order”, Environment Minister Oppah Muchinguri said.
Mr Bronkhorst looked dejected and refused to speak to journalists when he came out of the courtroom in the western town of Hwange, the AFP news agency reports.
“We disagree with the ruling with all due respect. It is our intention to apply to the High Court for a review,” his lawyer Perpetua Dube is quoted as saying.
Mr Bronkhorst says he had obtained all the permits required to kill an elderly lion that was outside the national park boundaries.
The lion – a favourite at Hwange National Park – was shot by Mr Palmer with a bow and arrow. He is said to have paid about $50,000 (£32,000) to hunt the lion. BBC
Cecil the lion
- A major tourist attraction in Hwange National Park
- The 13-year-old animal was renowned for being friendly towards visitors
- Recognisable because of his large size and distinctive black mane
- Led two prides containing six lionesses and 12 cubs along with another lion, Jericho
- Was being monitored as part of an Oxford University study into lion conservation