Heard's alleged dog smuggling court case in Australia adjourned

Amber Heard and her husband Johnny Depp at the Venice Film Festival.
Amber Heard and her husband Johnny Depp at the Venice Film Festival.PHOTO: EUROPEAN PRESSPHOTO AGENCY

SYDNEY • The court case against actor Johnny Depp's wife Amber Heard for allegedly smuggling two dogs into Australia, in a case dubbed the "war on terrier", was adjourned last Monday without the star couple appearing.

The actress is facing two counts of knowingly importing a prohibited product in breach of the Quarantine Act and one of producing a document knowing it to be false or misleading, a Southport Magistrates Court official said.

The case caught world attention last May after the pets, Pistol and Boo, were threatened with death by Australia's Agriculture Minister Barnaby Joyce unless they "buggered off back to the United States".

The animals, which had allegedly travelled by private jet to Queensland, where Depp was filming Pirates Of The Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales, were quickly whisked out of the country as the story hit the headlines.

Asked about the pets at a press conference in Venice, where he was speaking about his new film Black Mass in which he portrays a Boston mobster, Depp, 52, reportedly deadpanned last Friday: "I killed my dogs". "And ate them under direct orders from some kind of sweaty, big-gutted man from Australia."

Under strict Australian laws designed to keep disease at bay, dogs entering from the US must be declared and have to spend 10 days in quarantine.

Heard, 29, did not appear at the Southport court on Monday and the matter was adjourned till Nov 2. Penalties for contravening the Quarantine Act range from fines to a maximum of 10 years in prison for the worst cases.

Depp's portrayal of James "Whitey" Bulger was tipped in Venice as a potential Oscar winner after Black Mass, a biopic about the Irish-American gangster, was unveiled to a warm reception.

He was accompanied by Heard on the red carpet where they smooched for the cameras.

Bulger, 86, who was captured in 2011 after 16 years on the run, is serving two life terms in prison for ordering or committing 11 murders during the 1970s and 1980s.

Barely recognisable after having been given the gangster's severely receding hairline, sallow Celtic complexion and piercing blue eyes, Depp features in almost every scene of the Scott Cooper movie.

Variety called his "mesmerising" performance as the best of his career and hailed the film as "one of the fall's first serious awardscalibre attractions" .

The Hollywood Reporter was not so gushing about the production, branding it "derivative" in places because of its many nods to classic gangster films The Godfather (1972) and Goodfellas (1990), but concurred that Depp's performance had been "one of his best".


•Black Mass opens in Singapore on Sept 17.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 08, 2015, with the headline 'Heard's alleged dog smuggling court case in Australia adjourned'. Print Edition | Subscribe