TAURANGA, New Zealand – AC/DC drummer Phil Rudd made a surprise guilty plea on charges of threatening to kill and drug possession at the opening of his trial in New Zealand on Tuesday, April 21.
The veteran rocker had previously denied all allegations against him, but changed his plea on the first day of the trial at Tauranga District Court.
As a result, judge Robert Woolff adjourned the matter after just 10 minutes and extended Rudd’s bail until a sentencing hearing on June 26.
Threatening to kill carries a potential jail term of seven years, but Rudd’s solicitor Craig Tuck said the 60-year-old would apply for a discharge without conviction at the sentencing hearing.
Rudd was arrested in September at his waterfront mansion in the North Island coastal town of Tauranga, with court documents revealing he was accused of threatening to kill a contractor and his daughter.
Police also found 0.71 grams (0.025 ounces) of methamphetamine and 130 grams (4.5 ounces) of cannabis when they raided the property, the documents said.
Rudd initially faced another charge of “attempting to procure murder”, but it was dropped after prosecutors decided there was insufficient evidence to proceed.
The identity of the people threatened has been suppressed by the court.
Australian-born Rudd, who has lived in New Zealand since 1983, appeared in court in a blue suit and said nothing to a waiting media throng, in contrast to previous appearances when he has dressed casually and made rude gestures to reporters.
His legal woes have threatened his position with AC/DC, although Rudd last year vowed to return to the rock group’s line-up.
Chris Slade – the band’s drummer in the early 1990s – has replaced Rudd in recent appearances and is set to play on AC/DC’s upcoming “Rock or Bust” world tour.
It was the second major lineup change for AC/DC. Malcolm Young, the rhythm guitarist who founded the band with his brother Angus, was placed in a care facility late last year as he suffers dementia. – Rappler.com
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