Belfast Telegraph

Rocker Rudd fights with witness

Troubled AC/DC drummer Phil Rudd was detained by police after scuffling with a witness in his pending court case before being released without facing further charges.

His lawyer Paul Mabey said Rudd, 60, appeared in court in his home city of Tauranga, New Zealand, accused of breaching his bail conditions by associating with a witness. Mr Mabey said it was a "chance meeting" and Rudd was freed again on bail.

Last month police charged the Australian with threatening to kill, which carries a maximum prison sentence of seven years, as well as possessing methamphetamine and marijuana. He has pleaded not guilty.

Columbus Coffee cafe owner Leo Rojas said he saw Rudd swear and try to punch a larger man on the pavement outside.

Mr Rojas said Rudd was much shorter and skinnier than the other man, who twice pushed the musician to the ground."It was like a Chihuahua trying to fight a big dog," he said.

He said he saw Rudd trying to throw punches at the man but Rudd's bodyguard intervened, trying to separate them. He said the man at first appeared to be trying to walk away but then lost his temper and pushed Rudd on to the pavement.

Mr Rojas said Rudd was a regular customer at the butcher's shop next to his cafe and during the incident his possessions scattered, including some meat, cash and his mobile phone, which were scooped up by cafe staff.

"They were saying a lot of words, not proper words, as you can imagine in this situation," Mr Rojas said.

He said the larger man called Rudd a "rat", saying that was why he did not work for him any more. He said Rudd got up and again tried to attack the man, who again pushed him to the ground.

Rudd's bodyguard tried to calm the drummer, but Rudd then began attacking the minder, Mr Rojas said. He said the larger man eventually drove away.

Rudd came into the cafe to gather his belongings. "He said, 'Sorry for being rude, but I'm very angry with that guy'," Mr Rojas said. Rudd then left and police soon arrived.

Last week Rudd displayed odd behaviour when he was late for a court appearance and clowned around by jumping on the back of one of his security guards outside the court. He also winked at reporters, drummed a rhythm on the dock before speeding away in a black sports car.

In court, a judge imposed an additional bail condition on Rudd that he must not take illegal drugs, after government prosecutors argued his behaviour had been erratic and he would be more likely to obey his other conditions if he was substance-free.

His future with the popular Australian band remains uncertain. AC/DC released their new album, Rock Or Bust, this week.

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