Phil Rudd: AC/DC drummer pleads not guilty to threatening to kill

The musician is currently on bail

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The Independent Online

Phil Rudd has pleaded not guilty to charges of threatening to kill and possession of drugs.

The AC/DC drummer did not attend the hearing at New Zealand's Tauranga District Court, permitting his lawyer to enter the plea instead.

The 60-year-old musician remains on bail with a hearing scheduled in February 2015. The threatening to kill charge carries a maximum sentence of seven years in prison.

In November, Rudd was arrested accused of attempting to arrange a murder, but the charge was dropped because of a lack of evidence.

The man named in court documents as the “intended hitman” told the New Zealand Herald he thought that the incident had been blown out of proportion.

Describing himself as a “family man”, who was also friends with Rudd, he said that any suggestion of a murder plot was simply: “hot air”.

Rudd was arrested after police raided his home in Tauranga, a city in New Zealand's North Island. He was accused by authorities of threatening to kill one person and attempting to hire another in order to kill two more. He was also charged with possession of cannabis and methamphetamine.

He was kicked out of AC/DC in 1983, before he re-joined in 1994. His bandmates have not spoken to him since his arrest, but claim that they had problems with the drummer prior to the incident.

“It was tough to get him [into the studio] in the first place,” bassist Cliff Williams told USA Today.

“It put us in a difficult situation,” added Young. “It put is in a spot where we couldn't move forward. Does the guy show up? Is he reliable to do his job in good shape? We've always been a solid reliable unit. At this stage, it's a pretty tough call for us.”

Rudd also does not feature in the first picture the band has released to promote their new material, prompting speculation that he had left the group.