Rock star's dope on a boat

STACEY WOOD AND ANTONIO BRADLEY
Last updated 05:00 02/12/2010
AC/DC drummer Phil Rudd
ROSS BROWN
MISSING THE BEAT: AC/DC drummer Phil Rudd outside Tauranga District Court after his conviction for cannabis possession.

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For the rock star who arrived in court in a $470,000 sports car, a $250 fine and conviction meant his dirty deeds were done dirt cheap.

AC/DC drummer Phil Rudd was sentenced for cannabis possession yesterday after police busted him on his yacht at Tauranga Bridge Marina.

A marina staff member said Rudd was on the yacht when police raided it on October 7. "They came down ... and Mr Rudd took a ride with Mr Plod."

Rudd was a frequent sight at the marina when the band was not touring and had owned a berth for years, the man said. Rudd moved to New Zealand for a time after he was kicked out of AC/DC in 1983, and has returned between touring and recording since he rejoined the band in 1994.

Police, acting on a search warrant, found 25 grams – three grams more and he could have been charged with supplying the drug.

In the 15 minutes Rudd stood in the Tauranga District Court dock, his band would have earned approximately $4800, according to Business Review Weekly's 2010 rich list.

He said afterwards: "I'm not a bad person."

Rudd was ordered to pay a $250 fine and $132.89 court costs.

His lawyer, Craig Tuck, had asked for a discharge without conviction. He said Rudd had contributed millions of dollars to the local community since moving to Tauranga, and the drugs had been for personal use.

Rudd spent nine months travelling last year with AC/DC – which earned $400 million from concerts across at least 20 countries – and a conviction would seriously affect his ability to tour internationally, Mr Tuck said.

Police said if Rudd wanted to enter a country like the United States, he would still have to declare that he had been arrested on drugs charges and had appeared in court.

Community magistrate Robyn Paterson refused to discharge him without conviction, saying Rudd was playing "Russian roulette" by being in possession of cannabis. "It was not just an accident. You were blindly ignoring the law."

AC/DC's long-time manager Garry Van Egmond, currently in Singapore, said he had no knowledge of Rudd's conviction when The Dominion Post phoned him yesterday.

The band was currently off duty and he had not been in contact with Rudd.

Rudd owns Mountain Recording Studios in Tauranga, along with transport and property companies.

Additional reporting: SunLive

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- The Dominion Post

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