AC/DC drummer Phil Rudd has serious charge dropped Updated

Friday 7 Nov 2014 2:37 p.m.

AC/DC drummer Phil Rudd (Wenn)

AC/DC drummer Phil Rudd (Wenn)

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AC/DC drummer Phil Rudd has had a charge of attempting to procure a murder dropped against him because of insufficient evidence, his lawyer says.

Rudd was arrested in Tauranga yesterday and appeared in court to face several charges, which also included threatening to kill, and drugs offences in relation to methamphetamine and cannabis.

According to court documents, Australian-born Rudd was accused of attempting to procure a murder between September 25 and 26.

But Rudd's lawyer, Paul Mabey QC, has this afternoon confirmed that charge has been dropped, after Tauranga's Crown Solicitor decided there was insufficient evidence.

"I was advised by the Crown Solicitor, Mr Hollister-Jones, that he had reviewed the Police file and the available evidence to support the charge of Attempting to Procure Murder," Mr Mabey said in a statement. "He had formed the view that there was insufficient evidence to justify that charge. He has now withdrawn the charge."

Mr Mabey says his client will defend the other charges against him, and that any charges relating to "personal possession of drugs are minor".

He says the charge of attempting to procure a murder was laid by police without consulting the Crown Solicitor. 

"The charge alleging an Attempt to Procure Murder should never have been laid. The Crown Solicitor's opinion was not sought. The charge is now withdrawn - within 24 hours of Mr Rudd's first appearance in Court," says Mr Mabey.

"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.

"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."

Mr Mabey says Rudd is considering "any possible remedies he may have".

The charge of threatening to kill carries a maximum penalty of seven years' imprisonment. 

In 2010, Rudd was convicted of possessing cannabis in Tauranga, but later had his conviction quashed on the grounds that it would have stopped him from continuing to tour with AC/DC.

Last month, a new AC/DC publicity photo was released with Rudd curiously absent.

He released his solo debut album Head Job in August, recorded with Kiwi musicians Allan Badger of Rotorua, and Geoffrey Martin of Auckland.

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