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The professional guide that led the hunt against tragic Cecil - Zimbabwe's most beloved lion - will not be criminally prosecuted, a high court ruled this week, according to reports.

Cecil died after being shot by Mr Palmer with a bow and arrow.

The incident sparked worldwide outcry among environmentalists and rights activists and prompted a global campaign to ban lion trophy hunting.

Bronkhorst subsequently applied to a court, arguing that the charge was vague and that the circumstances did not constitute a chargeable offense.

"So I can not imagine the state coming back again charging him with the same charge".

He and another man allegedly used bait to lure Cecil out of the protected habitat.

Cecil had been fitted with a collar to track his movements, but had strayed outside the confines of Hwange National Park when he was shot.

Zimbabwe court rules for local hunter in Cecil the lion case

Bronkhorst, 53, had been charged with "failing to prevent an illegal hunt" in the aftermath of the killing.

Bronkhorst's lawyer, Perpetua Dube, told South Africa news agency News 24 on Thursday that the charges brought by the state in August 2015 had been thrown out.

Zimbabwe initially said it would charge Mr Palmer but later dropped that plan.

Palmer went back to Minnesota without charges. Officials for Hwange National Park first said that Bronkhorst and farm owner Honest Ndlovu did not have a permit to kill the lion.

He is said to have paid about $50,000 (£32,000) to hunt the lion.

'It's a great relief for Mr Bronkhorst'. Cecil was a popular tourist attraction for visitors to Hwange and was being monitored by scientists from the University of Oxford as part of a conservation project.


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