Murder plot charge against AC/DC drummer dropped after one day

Wellington (Agence France-Presse) - A charge alleging that AC/DC drummer Phil Rudd was involved in a murder plot was dropped on Friday after the New Zealand authorities found there was insufficient evidence, his lawyer said.

"The charge alleging an attempt to procure murder should never have been laid," barrister Paul Mabey said in a statement.

He said the police did not consult prosecution lawyers before charging Rudd with "attempting to procure murder" following a raid at his luxury North Island mansion early on Thursday.

"The Crown Solicitor's opinion was not sought. The charge is now withdrawn," Mabey said.

He said the case had attracted sensational worldwide publicity and Rudd, 60, had suffered "incalculable damage" and would consider "any possible remedies he may have".

"Questions arise as to the degree of care taken by those responsible for arresting and charging him," Mabey said, pointing out that the case had fallen apart less than a day after Rudd first appeared in court.

Rudd still faces a charge of threatening to kill, which Mabey said he would defend, as well as cannabis and methamphetamine possession charges, which the barrister described as "minor".

No comment was immediately available from the New Zealand police.

In court documents tendered on Thursday, police had accused Rudd of trying to organise a hitman to kill two men in late September.

Under New Zealand law, attempting "to procure any person to murder any other person" is punishable by up to 10 years in jail, while threatening to kill can attract a seven-year sentence.

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