Shoot to Thrill – AC/DC Drummer Allegedly Hires Hit Man

Shoot to Thrill – AC/DC Drummer Allegedly Hires Hit Man

Drummer of Australian rock band AC/DC Phil Rudd has been charged in New Zealand with 'attempting to procure murder'. This is alongside charges of threatening to kill and possession of drugs. Tweet this!


60-year-old Rudd had was raided on Thursday morning and appeared in court in the afternoon. In a kind of bizarre rock n roll fashion, Rudd wore no shoes during his court appearance, said nothing during the hearing and did not apply to have his name suppressed in the media.

He declined to speak to anyone from the media outside the court, and instead disappeared down the Highway to Hell in a Mercedes sedan. He has been released on bail until 27 November.

The charges included "attempting to procure murder" – which basically means trying to hire a hit man, or contract killer.

The conditions of his bail are that he must stay in Tauranga and have no contact with anyone connected with the procuring murder charge. Rudd attempted to hire one person to kill two other people between 25th September and 26th September. He also allegedly threatened to kill the complainant himself on 26th September.

In light of these allegations, the Key Masters here at Unlock the law have been wondering: who is charged with a contract killing and what are they charged with? If the killing isn't carried out, can the other party sue? If the killing is carried out, can the killer claim the payment due to them? Here we look at the law of contract killing in the UK.

How does the law treat contract killing?

A contract killing is where one party hires another to target an individual person or group of people. Contracts to kill are illegal agreements where one party will kill in return for payment – this may be monetary or otherwise.

In the United Kingdom and the United states along with many other countries, a contract to kill is not legally enforceable. In fact any contract to commit an offence is not enforceable. Thus, if the killer is paid but does not carry out the hit, he cannot be forced to do so in law, and also the person who hired him cannot reclaim their money back as damages for breach of contract.

In the alternate scenario where the hit is carried out but the contract killer is not paid, they too are unable to enforce the contract to claim payment.

From a criminal law perspective, both the killer and the person who hired them can be found guilty of murder in both Scot's and English law. Moreover, the act of negotiating and paying for a contract killing will be treated as attempted murder, as the act constitutes taking substantial steps towards the crime of murder.


Thunderstruck and want to know more? Read our guide on Criminal Law in England and for viewers in Scotland, our guide on Criminal Law in Scotland.

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