AC/DC drummer Phil Rudd will appear in a New Zealand court this afternoon, charged with attempting to procure a murder.
This follows Police searching Rudd's Tauranga house this morning, leading to additional charges of possession of methamphetamine, possession of cannabis and threatening to kill.
Fans have noted Rudd's absence from recent promotional photos in the lead-up to the release of their new album Rock Or Bust, fuelling speculation that the drummer had followed Malcolm Young and left the band.
More details as they emerge.
Update (3pm): the NZ Herald reports that the incident involves two murders being arranged between September 26 and 27 this year. Rudd has been granted restricted bail — unable to leave his residence and prohibited from entering certain streets in his hometown. The names of the alleged intended victims and the alleged hitman have all been suppressed. Rudd's next scheduled court appearance is on November 27.
Update (November 7, 11am): the band released a statement overnight via their Facebook page: "We've only become aware of Phil's arrest as the news was breaking. We have no further comment. Phil’s absence will not affect the release of our new album Rock or Bust and upcoming tour next year"
Update (November 7, 1pm): Stuff.co.nz reports that, due to insufficient evidence, the procure charge has now been dropped. The charges of possession of methamphetamine, possession of cannabis and threatening to kill remain withstanding, with Rudd's lawyer, Paul Mabey QC, stating that they would be defending the threatening to kill charge and that the drugs charges were "minor".