Phil Rudd's Murder-For-Hire Charge Dropped; Drug Charges Remain
Phil Rudd, the drummer for Australian rock band AC/DC, has had his murder-for-hire charge dropped.
Phil Rudd Charge Dropped
Greg Hollister-Jones, the Crown Solicitor of Tauranga, New Zealand, decided to drop the murder-for-hire-charge against Rudd due to "insufficient evidence" that the rocker attempted to procure the murder of two men earlier this year. As a result, the High Court won't be trying Rudd for the largest charge for which he was arrested last week. However, Rudd will still have to stand trial on charges of threatening to kill and possession of methamphetamine and cannabis.
After the decision was made to drop the murder-for-hire charge, Rudd's lawyer Paul Mabey released a statement to the New Zealand Herald, chastising authorities for their handling of the matter.
"The charge alleging an Attempt to Procure Murder should never have been laid," Mabey wrote. "The Crown Solicitor's opinion was not sought. The charge is now withdrawn – within 24 hours of Mr. Rudd's first appearance in Court. Mr. Rudd has suffered unnecessary and extremely damaging publicity as a result of widespread and sensational reporting of a very serious allegation, which on any basis was never justified."
Mabey added, "The damage to Mr. Rudd is incalculable. Questions arise as to the degree of care taken by those responsible for arresting and charging him with Attempting to Procure Murder."
Addressing the charges that remain, Mabey said the ones for "personal possession of drugs are minor." The lawyer did not elaborate on the threatening to kill charge for which Rudd could be sentenced to seven years behind bars.
AC/DC, which will be releasing their new album Rock or Bust next month and plan on going on tour early next year, released a statement yesterday after news of the charges broke. "We've only become aware of Phil's arrest as the news was breaking. We have no further comment," the statement read. "Phil’s absence will not affect the release of our new album Rock or Bust and upcoming tour next year.”