AC/DC drummer Phil Rudd: Procuring murder charge dropped

Last updated 16:50 07/11/2014

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AC/DC drummer Phil Rudd's charge of attempting to procure murder has been withdrawn.

Rudd, 60, appeared in the Tauranga District Court yesterday, charged with attempting to procure the murder of two men.

He was also charged with possession of methamphetamine, possession of cannabis and threatening to kill.

Rudd's lawyer, Paul Mabey QC, said this afternoon the Crown solicitor withdrew the attempting to procure murder charge after a meeting between Mabey and police.

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"The decision to charge Mr Rudd was made by the New Zealand Police without consultation with the Tauranga Crown solicitor," he said.

The Crown solicitor said there was insufficient evidence to justify the charge and has withdrawn the charge, Mabey said.

"The charge alleging an attempt to procure murder should never have been laid," Mabey said.

"The Crown solicitor's opinion was not sought."

Mabey said Rudd would defend the threatening to kill charge. He described the drugs possession charges as "minor".

"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."

A statement from Bay of Plenty police said the charges had been withdrawn by the Crown solicitor.

"A search warrant was executed in Tauranga yesterday resulting in Mr Rudd being charged with possession of methamphetamine, possession of cannabis, threatening to kill and attempting to procure murder.

"After a first appearance in court he was bailed to reappear on November 27.

"In matters of this nature the Crown solicitor then becomes responsible for the prosecution."

The Crown reviewed the charges today and made the decision to withdraw the charge of attempting to procure murder, the police statement said.

The other charges remain before the court.

Police would not be providing further comment as the matter was before the courts.

Rudd was released on bail after yesterday's appearance.

According to the charges laid and now withdrawn by police, Rudd had tried to get two men killed - their names and that of the intended hitman were all suppressed by the judge.

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