This week, AC/DC drummer Phil Rudd was charged with attempting to procure a murder, possession of cannabis and methamphetamine, and threatening to kill, however just 24 hours after the initial filing, the most serious charge has been dropped. A statement from Rudd's attorney, Paul Mabey, says that Tauranga, New Zealand Crown Solicitor Greg Hollister-Jones confirmed there was "insufficient evidence to justify that charge."
The charge, attempting to procure a murder, was filed by New Zealand police without consulting the Crown Solicitor, a decision Mr. Mabey says was needlessly harmful to Rudd's reputation. "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," he said.
However, Crown Solicitor spokeswoman Jan Fulstow told the New Zealand Herald, "It is a matter for the police. The police do not have to come to the Crown to seek permission to lay charges. The police make decisions on charges, etc having regard for the evidence that they have. Whether or not someone is high profile makes no difference, it is a matter for the police."
Although the murder-for-hire allegations were dropped, the charges of drug possession and threatening to kill remain. According to Mr. Mabey, Rudd will fight the charge of threatening to kill. He goes on to say that "charges relating to any personal possession of drugs are minor."
AC/DC released the following statement at the news of Rudd's arrest:
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.
Stay tuned to Zumic for more updates on the case as details emerge. Read the full press release from Rudd's lawyer below:
Mr. Rudd appeared in Court yesterday charged with Attempting to Procure Murder, and also Threatening to Kill, Possession of Cannabis and Possession of Methamphetamine.
Some members of the media published his name, together with details of those charges, before Mr. Rudd appeared in Court.
When Mr. Rudd appeared in Court, he was photographed. He was bailed to return at a later date.
As a result of his appearance he has received worldwide publicity focusing upon the allegation of Attempting to Procure Murder.
The decision to charge Mr. Rudd was made by the New Zealand Police without consultation with the Tauranga Crown Solicitor.
I am engaged to represent Mr. Rudd on instructions from his solicitor, Karen Gravatt, of Sharp Tudhope Solicitors, Tauranga. I met today with the Tauranga Crown Solicitor and Senior Members of the Police.
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.
Mr. Rudd will defend the charge of Threatening to Kill. Charges relating to any personal possession of drugs are minor.
The charge alleging an Attempt to Procure Murder should never have been laid. The Crown Solicitors opinion was not sought. The charge is now withdrawn -- within twenty four hours of Mr. Rudd's first appearance in Court.
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.
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.
Paul Mabey QC NZME.
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Source: New Zealand Herald