Rudd appeal succeeds because criminal record would impact his career – but he doesn’t know if band will tour again

Phil Rudd

Appeal: Phil Rudd

AC/DC drummer Phil Rudd’s conviction for possession of cannabis has been lifted after he appealed the ruling.

Rudd, real name Phillip Witscke Rudzevecuis, was fined $250 last year when he pled guilty to the charge of having 25g of the substance on his boat in his home town of Tauranga, New Zealand.

But lawyer Craig Tuck, told the court that any conviction would make it difficult for him to enter countries including the US, Canada and Japan, and that meant the relatively small offence would have an unreasonably large affect on his career.

Tuaranga District Court did not accept his argument at the hearing on December 1, when community magistrate Robyn Paterson told Rudd: “You were blindly ignoring the law and playing Russian roulette.”

But yesterday Judge Alayne Wills reversed the decision and quashed the conviction, saying she accepted he’d be refused entry to at least three countries he had to visit as part of his job.

During cross-examination Rudd admitted he didn’t know if AC/DC would tour again, but said he’d still have to travel for promotional work.

Rudd is the only Australian-born member of AC/DC. He joined in 1975 and was fired in 1983 after the death of original singer Bon Scott cause him to enter a spiral of drug addiction. He rejoined in 1994 after the band admitted their sound was lacking spirit without him.

After his conviction in December he accused police of hounding him for years, saying: “Give me a fair go – they’ve been trying to catch me for a while. My only Russian roulette is trying to survive life on the road.”

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