AC/DC's Phil Rudd has had his charge for attempting to hire a hit man dropped, the New Zealand Herald reports.
Just one day after his high profile appearance in court on Thursday, Nov. 6, Rudd's lawyer, Paul Mabey QC, released a statement announcing a U-turn by authorities, which has seen his charge of attempting to hire one person to kill two others withdrawn due to insufficient evidence.
As previously reported, Rudd, 60, appeared in court in New Zealand on Thursday after a raid of his Tauranga home, and was handed the attempt to procure murder charge in addition to three other charges: threatening to kill, possession of cannabis, and possession of methamphetamine. He was released on bail and due back in court on Thursday, Nov. 27.
But on Friday, Nov. 7, having looked over police files, the Crown Solicitor's office decided there was insufficient evidence for the most serious of the four charges.
"I was advised by the Crown Solicitor [Greg] 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 He has now withdrawn the charge," Rudd's lawyer Mabey told the New Zealand newspaper.
"The charge alleging an Attempt to Procure Murder should never have been laid. The Crown Solicitors opinion was not sought," Mabey continued. "The charge is now withdrawn — within 24 hours of Mr. Rudd's first appearance in Court. Mr Rudd will defend the charge of Threatening to Kill. Charges relating to any personal possession of drugs are minor."
A spokeswoman for Tauranga Crown Solicitor Hollister-Jones confirmed the murder plot charge had been withdrawn.
"The file was obtained today and reviewed," the spokesperson explained. "Mr Hollister-Jones made the decision that there was insufficient evidence to proceed with the charge of Attempting to Procure a Murder. The police and counsel for Mr Rudd were advised of the decision. No further comment can be because there are three other charges before the court."
The "Jailbreak" hitmaker's arrest came as AC/DC prepares to release a new studio album, Rock or Bust. The band also and has plans for an international tour in 2015, which, they announced in a statement yesterday, will go ahead with or without their legally troubled drummer.
Rudd joined AC/DC in 1975. He left the band in 1983, but rejoined in 1994.
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