WELLINGTON - AC/DC drummer Phil Rudd pleaded not guilty on Tuesday to charges of threatening to kill and possession of drugs. Rudd, 60, who has been on bail since his arrest early last month, was excused from appearing in Tauranga District Court and his plea was entered by his lawyer. The threatening to kill charge carries a maximum sentence of seven years in jail.
An original charge of trying to procure murder was withdrawn because of a lack of evidence by a New Zealand government prosecutor a day after the charges were laid. Rudd remains on bail, with a procedural hearing set down for February next year. AC/DC released its first album in more than five years — "Rock or Bust" — on Monday.