AC/DC's Rudd in trouble with the law

According to entertainment website AC/DC drummer Phil Rudd pleaded guilty to one charge of common assault when he appeared in Tauranga District Court on Boxing Day 2007.

The self-employed musician pleaded guilty after police reduced the charge from the more serious offence of male assaults female, which attracts a prison sentence of up to two years.

But Judge Robert Kerr discharged him without conviction.

His lawyer, Matthew Ward-Johnson, successfully argued a conviction would have a significant impact on his client's musical career and therefore outweigh the gravity of his offence.

The court was told that at 12.10pm on March 27, Witschke was on his boat with his two children at the Mount Maunganui marina when his former partner arrived to pick up the children, aged four and 10.

A discussion about money ensued which became heated, at which point Witschke pushed his chest into his ex-partner and held a clenched fist to her face in threatening manner. Witschke then grabbed her by the upper arms and pretended to push her overboard, which caused her and the two children who witnessed the assault to become upset.

She subsequently laid a complaint with police.

When police spoke to Witschke on April 22 he denied pushing her, claiming he just wanted her off the boat and had stopped her falling into the water as she stepped onshore. Judge Kerr said it was clear to him Witschke's actions were at the lower end of the scale and "threatening rather than violent".

The judge said a discharge without conviction was fair given the significant impact it would have on Witschke's career and his ability to travel to some countries to pursue it.

Chris Barnes

I'm MusicRadar's eCommerce Editor. In addition to testing the latest music gear, with a particular focus on electronic drums, it's my job to manage the 300+ buyer's guides on MusicRadar and help musicians find the right gear for them at the best prices. I dabble with guitar, but my main instrument is the drums, which I have been playing for 24 years. I've been a part of the music gear industry for 20 years, including 7 years as Editor of the UK's best-selling drum magazine Rhythm, and 5 years as a freelance music writer, during which time I worked with the world's biggest instrument brands including Roland, Boss, Laney and Natal.