AC/DC drummer Phil Rudd has been acquitted of deliberately lying about his prior use of “any legal or illegal recreational drugs or substances” to receive a medical certificate that would enable him to renew his private pilot license.
New Zealand's Civil Aviation Authority, or CAA, had claimed that Rudd failed to declare his self-confessed history of cannabis use in the medical form. Judge Louis Bidois, who passed the decision in Tauranga District Court Tuesday, had reportedly said that he was very suspicious of Rudd’s answer on the medical form.
"But suspicion is not enough and Mr Rudd will get the benefit of doubt despite some shortcomings in his evidence," the judge said.
Rudd, 59, denied a charge that he made a misleading statement in his medical certificate application on June 2012 when he answered in the negative to a question about his history of drug use.
“I didn't put anything down there that I knew to be wrong,” Rudd said about the medical form, adding: "I didn't lie and don't have a reputation for lying."
According to reports, the questionnaire is part of the CAA medical exam, essential for flying and a licensed pilot cannot fly without a current medical certificate.
Rudd was caught in possession of 23 grams of cannabis in 2010 during a police raid at his residence, but later won a discharge without being convicted for the possession of cannabis.
Rudd reportedly said in court Monday that the 2010 arrest and the court case had put him off cannabis and he hasn’t taken it since then.
“I wouldn't smoke cannabis, or do any recreational drugs apart from smoking and drinking, because I wanted to get my licence back,” Rudd reportedly said.
At the beginning of the hearing, Rudd reportedly admitted to charges that, between August 2012 and April 2013, he had failed to maintain an accurate record in a pilot’s log book. CAA lawyer Fletcher Pilditch told the court Rudd had flown his helicopter on five occasions during that period without a logbook.