WELLINGTON: Phil Rudd, the Australian-born drummer from world-famous rock band AC/DC, was sentenced to eight months home detention in a New Zealand court on Thursday after pleading guilty to charges of threatening to kill and possession of drugs.
Rudd, 61, has been on bail since his arrest last November and pleaded guilty in April to the charges, which carried a maximum sentence of seven years in jail. The prosecution asked for a minimum jail term of 18 months, after Rudd was accused of making the threat to an employee involved in the launch of his solo album.
The musician will be allowed to make authorised visits during his home detention, but will also be monitored electronically. His lawyer told the court that his client had been under stress at the time of the offence and under the influence of drugs, and described the incident as just an angry phone call. He said a conviction might result in Rudd losing tens of millions of dollars in future earnings from not being able to tour with the band, and asked for a discharge without conviction.
“That point doesn’t persuade me completely. Queen replaced Freddy Mercury, and the band is currently touring without you,” said Judge Thomas Ingram. He said the incident was more than an angry phone call and that Rudd had been found with a substantial amount of drugs. However, he accepted that Rudd had reconciled with the employee and paid compensation.
An original charge of trying to procure murder was dropped for lack of evidence. The charges arose from Rudd’s anger about the launch of his solo album, which had not gone well. Rudd has lived in the seaside city of Tauranga, about 200 km southeast of Auckland, since he was sacked from the rock band in 1983. He rejoined AC/DC in 1994 but has remained in New Zealand, where he owns a restaurant.
Published in The Express Tribune, July 10th, 2015.
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