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AC/DC drummer released on bail

Phil Rudd
Phil Rudd

AC/DC drummer Phil Rudd has been released on bail a day after he was arrested in New Zealand accused of breaching conditions of his home detention sentence for threatening to kill a man who used to work for him.

The 61-year-old Australian-born rocker was arrested at his home on New Zealand's North Island on Saturday night.

Rudd's lawyer, Craig Tuck, later said his client had appeared in Tauranga District Court on a charge of breaching conditions of his home detention by allegedly possessing and consuming alcohol.

He was released on bail and will enter a plea when he next appears in court on August 3. Mr Tuck provided no details of the allegation.

Rudd was sentenced to eight months of home confinement on July 9 after pleading guilty to threatening to kill a former employee and possession of methamphetamine and marijuana.

In that case, Rudd acknowledged in a court summary of facts that he offered cash, vehicles and a house to an associate after asking him to have the victim "taken out".

He also admitted that he said directly to the victim that he was going to kill him. Prosecutors had originally charged Rudd with murder-for-hire, but later dropped that charge, citing lack of evidence.

At the sentencing hearing, Judge Thomas Ingram warned Rudd that he would go to prison if he breached the terms of his home detention, which banned him from taking any non-prescription drugs and subjected him to monitoring.

"I stone-cold guarantee that's where you'll end up," Ingram told the drummer at the hearing. "I'm not your headmaster, I'm not your father - I'm a judge."

According to the court summary of facts, the dispute between Rudd and his victim began in August when Rudd threw a party at his restaurant to celebrate the launch of his solo album Head Job. Rudd felt the launch had not gone well and subsequently fired several employees, including the victim, whose name has been suppressed by the court.

Rudd later called an associate and told him he wanted the victim "taken out", according to the court summary. In another call, Rudd offered the associate "200,000 dollars, a motorbike, one of his cars or a house", which the associate took to mean as payment for carrying out his earlier request. Two hundred thousand New Zealand dollars is equivalent to about £128,000.

The morning after calling his associate, Rudd called the victim directly, saying: "I'm going to come over and kill you," according to the court summary.

Police found marijuana and methamphetamine in Rudd's home during a search, the court summary said. They also found methamphetamine in his pocket.

It is unclear whether Rudd has a future with the Australian rock band he has been part of on and off for 40 years.

AC/DC is currently using Welsh drummer Chris Slade for its Rock Or Bust album tour, but have not said whether that is a long-term arrangement.