Classic Rock Magazine reports that AC/DC drummer Phil Rudd has been acquitted in a court case he was fighting to be granted permission to fly his helicopter.
He bought the Hughes 500 – which retails for as much as $500,000 – as a present to himself after completing the band’s gigantic Black Ice world tour in 2010. But he’d run into legal problems over renewing his pilot’s licence.
Authorities accused him of lying by failing to mention his 2010 conviction for possession of drugs, following the discovery of 25g of cannabis aboard his boat.
But he argued he didn’t have to list it because it had been overturned at appeal in 2011, when he persuaded a New Zealand court that it would impact his ability to tour with AC/DC in the US, Canada and Japan.
Rudd, real name Phillip Witscke Rudzevecuis, yesterday told reporters: “I was back on the road for three tours. I worked harder than a Bering Sea fisherman, I made a lot of money and I thought I’d buy a helicopter. I’ve got everything else – have you seen my garage?”
He’d previously said in court: “You know how it is; you can have kids, or you can have a helicopter.”
Judge Louis Bidois found in the drummer’s favour, although remaining suspicious over answers he’d provided on his medical forms. “But suspicion is not enough,” he said in court. “Mr Rudd will get the benefit of the doubt, despite shortcomings in his evidence.”
But the 59-year-old musician was fined $NZ750 after admitting failure to maintain a pilot’s log.
In a separate court case, he failed in a bid to keep his name out of public association with his restaurant Phil’s Place. Employees launched action against him in 2012 via New Zealand’s Employment Relations Authority, leading him to submit a name suppression application. But the authority decided against him, arguing he’d used his reputation to promote the restaurant when it opened in 2011. Details of the employees’ complaints have not been revealed.
Meanwhile,AC/DC frontman Brian Johnson recently confirmed the band were preparing to go back into action later this year to mark their 40th anniversary.