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AC/DC drummer in court over alleged lies about drug use

By Sandra Conchie

AC/DC drummer Phil Rudd (right) moments after leaving Tauranga District Court yesterday with his lawyer Paul Mabey. Photo/George Novak
AC/DC drummer Phil Rudd (right) moments after leaving Tauranga District Court yesterday with his lawyer Paul Mabey. Photo/George Novak

AC/DC drummer Phil Rudd has denied he deliberately lied about his prior drug use to obtain a fitness to fly medical certificate to enable him to renew his private pilot's licence.

Rudd, 59, who gave evidence at a judge-alone hearing in Tauranga District Court yesterday, denied a charge he made a misleading statement in his medical certificate application.

The Civil Aviation Authority alleges Rudd deliberately failed to declare his self-confessed prior drug use in the medical history section of the form completed on June 13, 2012.

Rudd was caught with 23 grams of cannabis in his launch and another small quantity in his house during a police raid in October 2010 but won his bid for a discharge without conviction on possession of cannabis charge on appeal.

Rudd told a police detective at the time he had used cannabis since he was 18 years old and during the 1980s had a spell when he may have also had some involvement with cocaine.

At the start of the hearing, Rudd admitted a further charge that between August 2012 and April 2013 he failed to maintain an accurate record in a pilot's log book. Civil Aviation Authority's (CAA) lawyer, Fletcher Pilditch, told the court Rudd had flown his helicopter on five occasions during that period and not held a logbook. Rudd's pilot's licence lapsed in 1990.

The CAA alleged when Rudd signed his certificate he deliberately answered "no" to the question "have you ever used any illegal or illegal recreational drugs" because he knew it would be a legal bar to him obtaining a pilot's licence.

The medical certificate issued to Rudd was rescinded after the CAA learned about the 2010 drug raids and also what Rudd told police. Rudd denied trying to mislead anyone.

"I didn't lie and don't have a reputation for lying," Rudd said.

Rudd said he became "drug free" following the 2010 raid and had been honest when he stated he did not have any alcohol or drug convictions. He insisted the CAA's medical examiner - Bethlehem GP Jeff Brownless - had recorded most of the answers to the medical history questions for him and then he just signed it. Dr Brownless denied doing so, and said if Rudd had answered "yes" to the drug use question it would have prompted him to do further screening tests, including possibly a urine test. Rudd was sent a letter by the CCA asking him to take such a test in September 2012 but he had failed to do so. Judge Louis Bidois, who reserved his decision, is expected to deliver his ruling today.

- BAY OF PLENTY TIMES

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