Thursday 25 May 2017

Johnny Depp’s wife Amber Heard to plead not guilty to smuggling pet dogs into Australia

Amber Heard, the actress and wife of Johnny Depp, will plead not guilty to three charges relating to her alleged illegal importation of her pet Yorkshire terriers into Australia

Johnny Depp may testify in the case involving his wife Amber Heard
Johnny Depp may testify in the case involving his wife Amber Heard

The wife of actor Johnny Depp wants a trial soon on charges that she illegally imported the couple's dogs into Australia, according to media reports.

Amber Heard was charged in July with two counts of illegally importing Pistol and Boo into Australia and one count of producing a false document. She could face up to 10 years in prison if convicted.

Johnny Depp's dogs Boo & Pistol
Johnny Depp's dogs Boo & Pistol

She did not appear at Southport Magistrates' Court in Queensland state on Monday for the latest hearing.

"My decision to defend these charges, as will become apparent in the appropriate forum of the court, is not intended to in any way diminish the importance of Australia's laws,” she said in a statement.

"I look forward to attending the hearing of these matters … Whilst I am unable to comment on the specific matters before the court I would like to say that I respect the importance of Australia's laws.”

Heard was accused of smuggling the dogs – Pistol and Boo – into Australia during a visit earlier this year with Depp, 52, into the state of Queensland, where he was filming the latest Pirates of the Caribbean film.

A court official said the case was adjourned until next week.

The Gold Coast Bulletin newspaper said Heard's lawyer had asked for the trial date to be brought forward from an available date in March.

The pair's legal team would not say whether Depp would also attend the court for the trial, the newspaper reported.

In a statement, Heard said she instructed her lawyer to plead not guilty, and that she would come to Australia to fight the charges in a trial next year on a date yet to be set.

"My decision to defend these charges, as will become apparent in the appropriate forum of the Court, is not intended to in any way diminish the importance of Australia's laws," she said in the statement.

Australia has strict quarantine regulations to prevent diseases such as rabies from spreading to its shores. Bringing pets into the country involves applying for a permit and quarantine on arrival of at least 10 days.

Heard is accused of illegally bringing her dogs into Australia on a private jet when she visited Depp, who was filming the latest Pirates of the Caribbean movie on the Gold Coast.

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