The charge of attempting to arrange a murder has been dropped against the AC/DC drummer Phil Rudd.
The charge collapsed due to lack of evidence and now prosecutors in New Zealand are facing a backlash for their handling of the case.
Yesterday the Australian musician appeared in court in New Zealand on charges of trying to arrange a murder. He was also charged with making threats to kill and for possession of the drugs methamphetamine and cannabis.
Just one day after his court appearance in Tauranga District Court, Crown solicitor Greg Hollister-Jones, has withdrawn the charge of attempting to procure the murder of two people. Although, the two other charges of threats to kill and drug possession still stand.
Rudd’s lawyer Paul Mabey QC described the drugs possession charges as “minor”, and stated that Rudd was very upset. He labelled the media coverage as “unnecessary and extremely damaging publicity”.
Mabey said: “Well he’s angry that he’s received worldwide publicity in conjunction with a concept of murder. He’s a man of 60, he has two previous convictions for driving in the ’80s – nothing else.”
“The decision to charge Mr Rudd was made by the New Zealand Police without consultation with the Tauranga crown solicitor. 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.”
“He had formed the view that there was insufficient evidence to justify that charge. He has now withdrawn the charge.”
Mabey added that: “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.”
“Citizens are entitled to a responsible exercise of the power to charge which, as is proved here, can give rise to potentially irreversible damage if that power is not exercised responsibly.
“Mr Rudd is considering any possible remedies he may have.”
AC/DC released a statement that 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 is due to appear in court again on November 27th.