On Thursday July 9th, 2015, former AC/DC drummer Phil Rudd was sentenced to eight months of home detention by a New Zealand court.
Australian-born Rudd, 61, was charged with drug possession and threatening to kill a former contractor and that man’s 10 year-old daughter.
New Zealand’s Tauranga District Court heard how the drummer had fired several employees in August of 2014, following the commercial failure of his solo album, Head Job, according to CNN.
Prosecutors said Rudd rang the former contractor last September and said, “I’m going to come over and kill you,” according to CNN.
Previously, according to court documents obtained by the BBC, Rudd telephoned an associate that was located in Australia, and said that he wanted one of those former employees “taken care of.” And, in another call, Rudd offered his Australian associate “”NZ$200,000, ($135,000; £88,000) a motorbike, one of his cars or a house”, which the man believed would be in exchange for carrying out the request,” according to the BBC.
Following up on a police report about the phoned in threats, New Zealand police obtained a warrant to search Rudd’s home in November 2014. It was during this search that they found the drummer to be in possession of 0.71 grams of methamphetamine and 130 grams of marijuana.
After initially denying the allegations against him – pleading not guilty to the charges last December, being taken into custody for threatening a witness in the court proceedings, and having to find a new lawyer – the drummer changed his tune and entered a guilty plea in April of 2015. At that time, if convicted, Rudd could have faced up to seven years in a New Zealand prison for making the murderous threats.
During the sentencing hearing on July 9th, presiding judge Judge Thomas Ingram told Rudd that there was “nowhere to hide,” according to CNN affiliate NZTV. Under his sentence, the drummer will have to wear an electronic monitoring device for eight months and complete a drug rehabilitation program. Additionally, according to NZTV, Judge Ingram stressed to Rudd that he would be facing jail time if any trace of drugs or alcohol were found in his system.
Rudd will serve his eight month house detention sentence at his beachfront home in Tauranga, New Zealand.
His lawyer downplayed the threats as being “just an angry phone call,” and said that a drug conviction would have serious consequences for the AC/DC drummer, directly affecting his ability to travel to some countries to perform, according to the BBC.
This emotional appeal was not enough to change the Judge’s mind on handing down the drug conviction.
“Some of the affidavit material put before me suggests that you are integral to the band’s sound and you are an iconographical member of the band,” said Judge Ingram, according to the BBC.
“That point doesn’t persuade me completely. Queen have replaced Freddie Mercury and it’s clear that the band is currently touring without you.”
When these allegations, and later charges, came to light the members of AC/DC “disassociated themselves from Rudd”, according to Consequence of Sound. The band chose to move forward and welcomed Chris Slade into the fold as AC/DC’s live drummer for the current tour in support of their new album Rock or Bust.