WELLINGTON, Oct 6, 2016:

A New Zealand judge has rejected AC/DC drummer Phil Rudd’s bid to overturn a conviction for threatening to kill an employee, saying his “dark” state of mind was not a mitigating factor.

High Court judge Raynor Asher dismissed the 61-year-old’s argument that the death threat was simply an angry phone call that amounted to Rudd “nutting off” on the telephone.

“(The) threat was not a spontaneous outburst; it was a manifestation of a serious intention to intimidate and at least cause grave fear to the victim,” Asher said in a judgement released today.

He backed the sentence of eight months home detention given when Rudd was originally sentenced in July.

Rudd had faced up to seven years behind bars for threatening the life of his former security chief in September last year.

“I accept that he was in a dark place at the time… However, the fact that he was heavily under the influence of drugs is not a mitigating factor,” Asher found.

He cast doubt on Rudd’s argument that the conviction could impact his future earnings with AC/DC, saying the Australian drummer’s behaviour meant his role in the band had already been under threat.

“It is far from clear that at the time when the offending took place there was any place in the band available to Mr. Rudd, given his drug addiction and state of mind.”

Since his conviction, AC/DC have replaced Rudd with Briton Chris Slade on their current “Rock or Bust” world tour.

Rudd was arrested last November at his waterfront mansion in the North Island coastal town of Tauranga.

He was allegedly upset about poor organisation at a function to launch his solo album Head Job, calling an associate four weeks later to say he wanted his security chief “taken out”, then phoning the man and threatening his life.

He allegedly offered the associate “NZ$200,000 ($153,000), a motorbike, one of his cars or a house”.

When police raided Rudd’s home, they found 0.48 grams of methamphetamine and 91 grams of cannabis, the documents said.

Rudd initially faced another charge of “attempting to procure murder”, but it was dropped after prosecutors decided there was insufficient evidence.

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