AC/DC drummer murder plot charges dropped

Murder plot charges against legendary AC/DC drummer Phil Rudd dropped due to 'insufficient evidence' 

AC/DC drummer Phil Rudd (second from right) was accused of plotting the murder of two people
AC/DC drummer Phil Rudd (second from right) was accused of plotting the murder of two people

Charges against AC/DC drummer Phil Rudd for attempting to plot a murder have been dropped due to a lack of evidence, the drummer’s lawyer said. The charges were dropped in a New Zealand court less than 24 hours after Rudd appeared in court.

Prosecuting lawyer Greg Hollister-Jones said on Friday that there was “insufficient evidence to proceed with the charge of attempting to procure murder”.

“The charge alleging an attempt to procure murder should never have been made,” Rudd’s lawyer Paul Mabey said, adding that Rudd had suffered “incalculable” damage from the publicity that surrounded this charge. 

Rudd is still facing charges of drug possession and threatening to kill. However, Mabey described the drug charges as “minor” offences and said that Rudd would fight the charge of making threats to kill in court. If found guilty of this latter charge, Rudd could face up to seven years in prison. 

According to court documents, Rudd was accused of attempting to hire one person to kill two others between 25 September and 26 September.

He has now being charged with threatening to kill a complainant on 26 September and possession of methamphetamine and cannabis. He has been ordered to stay in Tauranga and to have no contact with anyone related to the charge of procuring murder as part of his bail conditions.

The 60-year-old was the subject of a raid on the North Island on Thursday morning and appeared in Tauranga district court in the afternoon.

He said nothing during his brief court appearance and wore no shoes. He did not apply to suppress his name and was bailed until 27 November.
Rudd refused to talk to media gathered at the court and left in a late model Mercedes sedan, the New Zealand Herald reported.

Rudd was a notable absentee from AC/DC’s recent promotional material in the lead-up to the release of the band’s first album in six years.

The first image released to promote the album, Rock or Bust, did not feature Rudd and he was absent from two video shoots over the past few months.

Lead singer Brian Johnson reportedly told fans Rudd was not at one of the video shoots because of a “family emergency”.

Biographer Jesse Fink, author of the new book, The Youngs: The Brothers Who Built AC/DC, told the Daily Mail Australia he was “absolutely stunned” by the charges.

Fink said Rudd had “deteriorated” in recent years. “You go back and you see photos of Phil from the ’70s, he’s a beautiful man, a very handsome man.”

Australian-born Rudd has lived in Tauranga for a number of years.

AC/DC have announced they will launch Rock or Bust from the New South Wales town The Rock on 23 November.

Rock or Bust is the band’s first album of original material since Black Ice was released six years ago. Founding guitarist Malcolm Young recently left the band after his family announced he had developed dementia.

Rudd joined AC/DC in 1975. He was dropped in 1983, but rejoined in 1994.