Don’t mess with Australia. Six years after actress Amber Heard illegally “imported” her two dogs Pistol and Boo into the country, she’s under investigation for perjury about the issue. Heard brought the two tiny pups with her to visit then-husband, Johnny Depp, while he was on set for a Pirates Of The Caribbean film.
Per Australian law, Pistol and Boo should have been declared to customs and placed in a ten-day quarantine. They weren’t, and their presence was discovered a few weeks later after a grooming salon posted a photo of the two dogs on Facebook.
The Original 2015 Case
Back in 2015, Heard flew the two Yorkies into Queensland on a private jet without declaring them to customs. Initially, Heard faced two charges of illegal importation of an animal and up to a ten-year prison sentence. Depp and Heard were also given 72-hours to send the dogs home or otherwise they would be seized and euthanized.
Ultimately, Heard pleaded guilty to a lesser charge of falsifying an immigration document and paid the $10,000 fine ($7,650 in U.S. dollars.) Her lawyer, Jeremy Kirk, insisted that the paperwork had “slipped through the cracks” and that there was “no attempt to deceive.”
Heard and Depp later presented an apology video to the court, in which she stated:
“Australia is free of many pests and diseases that are commonplace around the world. That is why Australia has to have such strong biosecurity laws. I’m truly sorry that Pistol and Boo were not declared. Protecting Australia is important.”
Allegations Of Perjury
So: why is Heard’s version of events suddenly being challenged? It has to do with the libel trial Johnny Depp brought against The Sun for referring to him as an abuser. (I won’t get into their whole divorce controversy, which you can read about here.)
Depp’s former estate manager Kevin Murphy told the U.K. court that Heard had ordered him to lie under oath during the libel trial. Then, the Australia Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment reopened a criminal probe, enlisting the help of the FBI to track down witnesses in the U.S., including Murphy.
A spokesperson for the Australian government confirmed:
“The Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment is investigating allegations of perjury by Ms. Heard during court proceedings for the 2015 illegal importation of (her) two dogs into Australia.”
Apparently, Murphy told the court that he informed Heard of Australia’s strict animal entry rules before her 2015 visit.
“I also explained to Ms. Heard several times the fact that trying to take the dogs into Australia without completing the mandatory process was illegal and could result in very harsh penalties including euthanizing the dogs.”
Murphy alleges that Heard insisted he provide a false statement to the Australian authorities about her lack of awareness regarding the policies. Heard allegedly suggested she would put Murphy’s career at risk if he did not comply.
“It became very apparent that Ms. Heard was threatening my job stability unless I cooperated with providing a declaration that supported her false account for the Australian proceedings. Because of this I felt extreme pressure to cooperate, despite knowing this would involve being untruthful.”
Under the Queensland penal code, the maximum sentence for perjury is a 14-year jail term.
Will Heard Be Arrested?
The Australian government probably wouldn’t try to have Heard extradited, but she could still technically face arrest if she tried to enter the country again. The Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions will not make any further statements while the matter is still ongoing.
An inside source disclosed Heard’s options in this predicament:
“She could just ignore the whole thing and never go back but a huge number of movies are shot in Australia, including Aquaman, the movie for which she’s most well-known. Alternatively, Amber could go back there and face her detractors. That’s often her style. It’s pretty evident by now that she’s not one for backing down in the face of legal threats.”
If there’s one major takeaway from this high-profile case, it’s definitely that you should know about national biosecurity laws and OBEY THEM.