The ruling by San Francisco Judge Richard Kramer has reopened the question of whether brothers Paul Dhaliwal, 19, and Kilbir Dhaliwal, 23, and their friend, Carlos Sousa Jr., 17, provoked the large cat before it attacked them and left Sousa dead, the San Francisco Chronicle reported Wednesday.
Attorney Mark Geragos contends his clients in no way provoked the animal and reportedly has pointed the finger at the city's officials for initiating a negative campaign against the brothers' reputations.
Sources in connection with the case reportedly told the newspaper the brothers were under the influence of alcohol and marijuana while the attack took place. A patron at the zoo also reported she witnessed the brothers and their friend teasing the zoo's lions before the tiger's escape.
San Francisco police reportedly said they do not anticipate charges being pressed against the Dhaliwal brothers.