By STEVE MASCORD
A charge against AC/DC drummer Phil Rudd of “attempting to procure murder” has been withdrawn.
The development comes after a Tauranga, New Zealand, man who was alleged to have been approached by Rudd to kill two people, told the local newspaper he knew nothing of the allegations.
Rudd’s legal representative Paul Mabey, according to Fairfax Media, said he had met with the Crown Prosecutor and police and at the end of the meeting, it was determined the charge should be withdrawn.
Mabey said the Crown Prosecutor found there was insufficient evidence to support the charge. He said Rudd would defend the “threatening to kill” charge against him and also the allegations of methamphetamine and cannabis possession.
Earlier, a man whose name had been suppressed by the courts spoke to the Bay Of Plenty Times as AC/DC announced the drummer’s arrest would have no impact on the release of new album Rock Or Bust or subsequent world tour – a clear indication he is to be replaced.
Rudd appeared in court in Tauranga, New Zealand, on Thursday after being charged with attempting to procure a murder, threatening to kill and possession of methamphetamine and cannabis.
The paper quoted the would-be assassin, when asked if he had been engaged by Rudd to commit a murder: “I don’t know what you’re talking about”.
Discussing Rudd’s recent behaviour, the man reportedly said: “He’s burning the ones who care about him.”
The interviewee further stated that although Rudd had become irritable of late, he was a good man. Rudd had allowed him to drive his cars, including the latest Ferrari and Lamborghini models, after the two met through a local business, the would-be assassin told the newspaper.
The drummer would also take him on fishing trips.
Rudd, 60, did not enter a plea to the charges when he appeared in court Thursday. He wore jeans and a grey jumper and his legal representative failed in a bit to prevent him being photographed in the dock.
AC/DC’s statement reads: “We’ve only become aware of Phil’s arrest as the news was breaking. We have no further comment. Phil’s absence will not affect the release of our new album Rock or Bust and upcoming tour next year.”
Rudd was missing when the band recently recorded music videos in London and posed for a publicity photo. He is also absent from AC/DC’s 2015 fan calendar.