Depp may face perjury charges over dog incident

Amber Heard and Johnny Depp in April 2016 in Australia.
Amber Heard and Johnny Depp in April 2016 in Australia.PHOTO: AFP

SYDNEY • Johnny Depp could face perjury charges in Australia after the deputy prime minister threatened on Tuesday to unleash a new chapter in a pet dog case dubbed the "war on terrier".

The Pirates Of The Caribbean star and his then wife Amber Heard fell foul of Australia's strict quarantine laws when they failed to declare her canines Pistol and Boo on arrival in the country on a private jet in 2015.

Heard, 31, escaped with a fine and a good behaviour bond, but a lawsuit between Depp, 54, and his former business managers has revived the spat amid allegations that he was aware that he was breaching the laws.

In an interview with Australian Broadcasting Corporation, Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce - who has been a vocal critic of Depp - said if the allegations were true, "there's a word for that: it is called perjury".

He added: "I might have another look at this."

He sparked global headlines two years ago when he threatened to have the animals put down unless they "buggered off back to the United States", igniting a war of words with Depp.


The couple released an awkward apology video, but Mr Joyce, 50, mocked Depp saying he looked like "he was auditioning for The Godfather".


The actor hit back, telling American talk-show host Jimmy Kimmel that the politician Joyce looked like he was "inbred with a tomato".

At the time, the couple's lawyers claimed the pet dog case was a misunderstanding.

But according to People magazine, which obtained legal documents filed in a separate case between Depp and his former business managers TMG, the actor was "fully aware" that he was breaking Australian laws. It claimed that the documents show he "pressured one of his long-term employees to 'take the fall'".

The prospect of charges caps a difficult week for Depp, who was forced to apologise last Friday for joking about United States President Donald Trump being assassinated, after his remarks to a music festival audience triggered a backlash.


A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 28, 2017, with the headline 'Depp may face perjury charges over dog incident'. Print Edition | Subscribe