Reports New Zealand’s 3 News, Rudd’s lawyer, Paul Mabey QC, this afternoon confirmed that charge has been dropped, after Tauranga’s Crown Solicitor decided there was insufficient evidence to justify the charge.
“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 He has now withdrawn the charge.”
Rudd was arrested yesterday and appeared in court over charges of attempting to procure the murder of two people in September, as well as charges of threatening to kill someone and the possession of methamphetamine and cannibis.
AC/DC issued a brief statement overnight following the arrest, reaffirming that it will have no effect on the upcoming release of their new studio album or their plans to tour in the new year.
““We’ve only become aware of Phil’s arrest as the news was breaking,” the wrote. “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.”
The band’s new album Rock Or Bust is due out Friday, 28th November and Rudd recently released his own solo album, Head Job. He was was facing up to 10 years in jail if convicted of attempting to procure a murder.
“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 The charge is now withdrawn – within 24 hours of Mr Rudd’s first appearance in Court,” continued Mr Mabey.
He said Rudd will still defend the other charges against him, including the charge of threatening to kill which carries a maximum penalty of seven years. He added specifically that the charges of “personal possession of drugs are minor”.
“The damage to Mr Rudd is incalculable,” continued Mr Mabey. “Questions arise as to the degree of care taken by those responsible for arresting and charging him with Attempting to Procure Murder.”
A man police allege was the intended hitman spoke to Fairfax, characterising Rudd as a good man at heart” and said the drummer wanted him to be his bodyguard due to threats he was receiving.
Rudd has been released on bail after appearing in Tauranga District Court in New Zealand yesterday and is due to appear in court again on Thursday, 27th November.