AC/DC drummer's drug conviction overturned in NZ

LOS ANGELES Thu Mar 31, 2011 10:44pm EDT

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LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - The drummer with rock band AC/DC has had his cannabis conviction quashed by a court in his adopted homeland of New Zealand on the grounds that it would have interfered with his globe-trotting exploits.

Phil Rudd, 56, appeared in Tauranga District Court on Thursday seeking to have his 2010 conviction for possession of 27 grams (0.95 ounces) of marijuana wiped from his record, according to the Bay of Plenty Times.

The Australian native had pleaded guilty to the charge and was fined US$190 plus $101 in court costs in December after failing in his bid for a discharge without conviction.

At Thursday's hearing, Rudd's attorney said the conviction restricted the rocker's ability to enter some countries, particularly the United States, Canada and Japan.

AC/DC, which Rudd first joined in 1974, was the world's second-biggest touring act in 2010, selling about $177 million worth of tickets. It is not known when the "Highway to Hell" rockers will return to the road or the studio, but Rudd told the court that he planned to make music "for as long as I'm still alive."

Judge Alayne Wills said Rudd's offense was at the "lower end of scale," and she discharged him without conviction provided that he paid $1,100 to cover prosecution costs.

Rudd told the paper outside the courthouse that he was "relieved."

(Reporting by Dean Goodman; editing by Americas Desk)

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