Johnny Depp and Amber Heard were back in Australia Sunday morning in preparation for their court date, expected to begin Monday and last for four days.
Depp, 52, and his 29- year-old wife were called out on bringing dogs into the country illegally.
Australia imposes a strict quarantine on animals for 10 days upon arrival to prevent the spread of diseases.
— Sunrise (@sunriseon7) April 17, 2016
Heard faces charges of sneaking the couple’s Yorkshire terriers, Pistol and Boo, through Australian customs, and of falsifying documents, Daily Mail said.
The actress/model is required by law to appear in Southport Magistrates Court on Monday to face two counts of breaching Australia’s quarantine laws.
The incident occurred while Depp was in Australia filming on the newest installment of the Pirates of the Caribbean.
Depp is one of 12 witnesses that Commonwealth prosecutors may call during the four-day trial, which, The New Daily pointed out, “could sit on Heard’s 30th birthday if it runs overtime into Friday.”
Last year, Agriculture Minister and new Deputy Prime Minister of Australia and acting Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce said the dogs might be euthanized unless they “buggered off back to the United States.”
Heard could be penalized either with a fine of around $77,000 or up to 10 years in prison.
Jonny Depp’s his wife Amber Heard set to face court for allegedly smuggling of their dogs into Australia. #9News pic.twitter.com/jJclGtmBsM
— Nine News Brisbane (@9NewsBrisbane) April 17, 2016
In September, Johnny Depp appeared on Jimmy Kimmel Live and joked about the incident.
He called Barnaby a “sweaty-pated gut man” and deliberated over what would happen if Amber went to jail.
“If they did that I’d just fly to Australia and assault that man.
“So that I could go to jail.
“We were under the impression that we had all the paperwork done for the dogs. We were there with the dogs in front of everybody.
“There might have been other things smuggled. But they seemed to miss that bit.
“Might have been. Could have been.”
But Depp’s making light of the situation was mimicked by media worldwide. The Guardian ran a “live countdown ticker” which kept track of the remaining minutes Depp’s dogs had in Australia before they were theoretically to be killed.
“The clock has stopped! Australia’s agriculture minister, Barnaby Joyce, gave actor Johnny Depp an ultimatum: ‘Mr Depp has to either take his dogs back to California or we are going to have to euthanize them. He’s now got about 50 hours left to remove the dogs.'”
The dogs were removed from the country, but NBC News reported Depp said he would “avoid” Australia after the incident.
Joyce responded with a clarification.
“I don’t hate Johnny Depp’s dogs but I dislike the way that someone comes into our nation but doesn’t go through the proper process.”
Depp later joked that he’d eaten the dogs under orders from Joyce.
Later, Depp told NBC’s Channel 7 that he would “absolutely” return to Australia, and added that Joyce had “invited me to stay at his house, for some reason.”
Barnaby Joyce faced worldwide ridicule for his tough stance, but he was supported by Invasive Species Council chief executive Andrew Cox, according to the Sydney Morning Herald.
“It might have seemed like a bit of a joke at the time, but Barnaby Joyce did the right thing by enforcing Australia’s strict quarantine laws after discovering Mr Depp’s dogs Pistol and Boo had been brought into the country in an apparent breach of quarantine laws.”
Heard plans to plead not guilty to the charges, the Telegraph said, while she did acknowledge the “importance of Australia’s laws“.
— Ashleigh Stevenson (@ash_stevenson10) April 17, 2016
Update: Heard pleaded guilty in court Monday to the false documents, not to the dog smuggling, according to the Guardian. Her barrister Jeremy Kirk, tendered to the court a USB containing a statement of contrition.
“Ms Heard has made a video, the significance of which will become apparent … it relates to an expression of remorse and recognition of the importance of compliance with Australia’s border protection laws.”
The hearing was adjourned until 11 a.m., to give the judge time to review the documents.
When the trial resumed, the commonwealth lawyers argued that the laws applied to everyone.
— 7 News Queensland (@7NewsQueensland) April 18, 2016
Magistrate Bernadette Callaghan will make her decision this afternoon after adjourning the court until 2.30 pm.
When they arrived at the courthouse this morning, the famous couple was swarmed by a pack of about 30 journalists.
The courtroom was jammed with media and people.
CourierMail said that Depp and Heard have agreed to appear in a public service announcement in cooperation with Australia’s Department of Agriculture, warning international visitors that they should follow the rules.
“When you disrespect Australian laws they will confront you directly,” Depp says.
“Declare everything when you enter Australia.”
[Image via Matteo Chinellato/Shutterstock]