21 Apr 2015

AC/DC's Phil Rudd pleads guilty

5:46 pm on 21 April 2015

When Phil Rudd's solo album launch failed he sacked a group of staff and threatened to kill one of them.

Lawyers for the AC/DC drummer had previously said the charges of threatening to kill and possessing methamphetamine and cannabis would be defended but today Rudd pleaded guilty.

He arrived at the Tauranga District Court in a late model Mercedes sports car to waiting media and a court security guard.

One fan outside wished the 60-year-old rocker good luck but Rudd had nothing to say.

Dressed in jeans, a suit jacket, shirt and tie, he sat flanked by security in the dock as his lawyer Craig Tuck asked the charges to be put to his client.

Rudd pleaded guilty to charges of threatening to kill a former staff member and having methamphetamine and cannabis at his waterfront home.

Phil Rudd at Tauranga District Court om 21 April 2015.

Phil Rudd at Tauranga District Court. Photo: RNZ / Diego Opatowski

A second charge of threatening to kill was dropped.

Crown prosecutor Anna Pollett told the court Rudd had become angry after his solo album launch did not go well.

She said he sacked a number of employees before making a phone call to an associate.

"The defendant said he wanted the victim 'taken out'. When asked what he meant by that, the defendant said he wanted them 'taken care of' ..."

She said Rudd called the associate back, offering him $200,000, a motorbike, and the choice of one of his cars or a house.

The associate said he understood that to mean the offer was payment for the earlier request.

Rudd then called the victim.

"[Rudd] went on to say: 'I'm going to come over and kill you'."

He made two other calls but the victim hung up as soon as he realised it was Rudd.

When police later raided Rudd's plush waterside home, they spoke with him in his lounge.

During the interview he picked up a container from the coffee table and put it on the floor, out of sight of the officer. Later testing of the container found cannabis crumbs.

He also pulled out a snaplock bag of cannabis down the side of the couch.

When police searched his jeans, they found a similar bag of methamphetamine. There were more drugs in the bedroom and stashed in the hallway cupboard.

Rudd's lawyer Craig Tuck told the court he had be seeking a discharge without conviction.

Outside court he told the media that the argument for a discharge without conviction would revolve around the consequences of the conviction for Rudd.

"This matter essentially revolved around an angry phone call, that was it. There was a complaint to the police ... The apparatus of the police then turned up with a search warrant based on cannabis for own use situation..."

He also pointed out that a second charge of threatening to kill and a more serious charge of procuring a murder had been dropped by the prosecution.

Rudd is due to be sentenced in June, a month after AC/DC's latest world tour is due to kick off without him.