Attempt to procure a murder – AC/DC drummer Phil Rudd fronts court in NZ

Miscellaneous

Attempt to procure a murder – AC/DC drummer Phil Rudd fronts court in NZ

Making headlines this week is AC/DC drummer Phil Rudd, who has been charged with attempting to procure a murder and appeared in Tauranga District Court in New Zealand yesterday.

He was arrested after an early morning raid yesterday in his waterfront property. Reports say he had been partying for days, and in the attached media report, the alleged hitman called him the “Hugh Hefner of Tauranga” due to his benevolence to local businesses in the seaside town.

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For more, go to: http://www.smh.com.au/entertainment/music/acdc-drummer-phil-rudd-accused-of-hiring-hit-men-the-hugh-hefner-of-tauranga-witness-20141106-11i64c.html

The law in New Zealand

The offence “counselling or attempting to procure a murder” is found in section 174 of the New Zealand Crimes Act 1961. It specifically covers attempts where no murder in fact occurs, and carries a maximum sentence of 10 years. Rudd entered a plea of not guilty in his brief court appearance yesterday. Despite the media attention, not much more is known about the case at this stage.

Conspiracy to murder in NSW

In NSW, the equivalent offence is “conspiring to commit murder” under section 26 of the Crimes Act 1900. Our legislation does not distinguish between successful and unsuccessful murder conspiracies, so the maximum sentence is 25 years. There is no reliable data on the Judicial Commission website on sentencing trends for this offence, due to the rareness of this kind of crime.

A recent crime of note is the 2012 conviction of notorious career criminal Anthony “Badness” Perish’s younger brother Andrew Perish for conspiring to murder drug dealer Terry Falconer in 2001. In that case, the conspiracy was successfully carried out by Perish’s brother and an associate. Andrew Perish was sentenced by the Supreme Court to 12 year’s jail with a non-parole period of 9 years. All three are currently appealing their convictions to the Court of Criminal Appeal. To read the sentencing judgment, go to: http://www.austlii.edu.au/au/cases/nsw/NSWSC/2012/355.html

Elements of the offence

The elements of solicitation to murder are:

  • That the accused intended that the victim be murdered; and
  • That the accused sought to solicit, encourage, persuade, endeavour to persuade, or propose to any person to commit that murder.

Picture courtesy Sydney Morning Herald and www.sunlive.co.nz

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