Australian politician Barnaby Joyce has called for Amber Heard to be jailed if she is found to have committed perjury during her 2015 dog-smuggling furore.
The 36-year-old actress, who last month lost a high-profile defamation trial against her ex-husband Johnny Depp, is the subject of an ongoing perjury investigation related to court proceedings stemming from her visit to Queensland with Depp in 2015, when she broke Australia’s strict quarantine and biosecurity laws by failing to declare the couple’s Yorkshire terriers, Pistol and Boo, upon her arrival in the country.
At the time, then-agricultural minister Joyce insisted the dogs be put down if they were not sent back to the United States immediately.
Australian politician Barnaby Joyce (pictured) has called for Amber Heard to be jailed if she is found to have committed perjury during her 2015 dog-smuggling furore
Heard was charged with two counts of illegally importing the animals in July 2015; however, the case was closed when she pleaded guilty to falsifying travel documents in a Gold Coast court in April 2016.
But the dog-smuggling saga was given new life in October 2021 when it was exclusively revealed by TSWT.com that Australian officials were investigating Heard for alleged perjury over claims she lied to authorities about the circumstances in which her dogs were brought into the country.
The Australian Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment last week confirmed the case was ‘ongoing’, telling Daily Mail Australia it was still ‘investigating allegations of perjury by Ms Heard during court proceedings for the 2015 illegal importation of [her] two dogs into Australia’.
Joyce had little sympathy for Heard while discussing the alleged perjury investigation on Australian breakfast show Sunrise on Thursday.
‘Those dogs, when they came in, there were a lot of documents that were signed that said there were no animals there. And it now looks like Ms Heard has allegedly not told the truth,’ he said.
Joyce joked that Australia was entitled to have Heard extradited because the U.S. is seeking the extradition from England of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, who is an Australian citizen, on spying charges.
The Aquaman actress is the subject of an ‘ongoing’ perjury investigation in Australia related to court proceedings stemming from her visit to Queensland with Depp in 2015 when the couple broke Australia’s biosecurity laws by failing to declare their Yorkshire terriers, Pistol and Boo. (Heard and Depp are seen outside court on the Gold Coast on April 18, 2016)
During Heard and Depp’s 2015 dog-smuggling saga, then-agricultural minister Joyce insisted the dogs be put down if they were not sent home to the United States immediately
‘[The U.S.] wants Julian Assange… [She] can come over to Australia and possibly spend some time at Her Majesty’s convenience,’ Joyce said.
Perjury carries a maximum jail term of 14 years in Australia.
When asked what would likely happen to Heard if she were to be found guilty of perjury, Joyce replied: ‘It’s up to the Americans. I suppose the U.S. want to show the purity of it and they’re insisting on getting Julian Assange.
Joyce had little sympathy for Heard while discussing the alleged perjury investigation on Australian breakfast show Sunrise on Thursday. (Pictured: Heard testifying at a Virginia court during her defamation case against Depp on May 4)
‘So [the U.S.] should say, “We have got to be fair dinkum and straight with both these things, don’t we?” Let’s see how that goes.’
It’s unlikely the Australian government would try to have Heard extradited, but she could nonetheless face arrest if she tried to enter the country again.
All of the witnesses involved in the case ‘live overseas’.
Heard revealed last December she’d named her new puppy Barnaby Joyce
Joyce later joked he would look after Heard’s dog, which she famously named after him after adopting the animal in December, if she were imprisoned in Australia.
‘Send it up here and we’ll go pigging with it, see if we can knock over a few old boars… I’ll look after it, my namesake Barnaby, he’ll be safe with me’, he chuckled.
Pigging refers to the act of hunting wild pigs.
Heard faced two counts of knowingly importing a prohibited product into the country in 2015. (Pictured: the Yorkshire terriers at the centre of the incident, Pistol and Boo)
When asked what he thought of the Depp vs. Heard defamation trial in Virginia, Joyce replied: ‘It was great… it was compulsory train-wreck viewing.’
‘Each night you thought, “These are two crazy cats and, obviously, don’t mind having a drink at night, and they’re just tearing the house to pieces and throwing crap at each other.” It was just bizarre.
Meanwhile, Australian authorities could seek assistance from the FBI as they investigate claims Heard allegedly perjured herself in a Queensland court six years ago.
When asked what he thought of the Depp vs. Heard defamation trial in Virginia, Joyce replied: ‘It was great… it was compulsory train-wreck viewing’
Australian authorities could seek assistance from the FBI as they investigate claims Amber Heard (pictured with her ex-husband Johnny Depp in Toronto, Canada, on September 14, 2015) allegedly perjured herself in a Queensland court six years ago
Bobby Chacon, a former Special Agent for the bureau, told Law & Crime on Monday it’s common for Australian investigators to liaise with their American counterparts, and such a collaboration would be likely in this case given the relevant witnesses all ‘live overseas’.
Mr Chacon said: ‘The FBI maintains an office in Canberra and there are FBI Agents permanently assigned to Australia [on a rotating basis].
‘Part of their mission is liaison and assistance, so if the Australians needed something from here in the U.S. they would certainly contact the FBI’s Australia Office and the FBI would likely assist.’
Heard was charged with two counts of illegally importing the animals in July that year, but the case was closed when she pleaded guilty in April 2016 to falsifying travel documents. She and Depp also recorded a video apology (pictured) in which she expressed remorse for her actions
The department’s perjury investigation stems from testimony given by a former employee of Depp’s during his UK libel case against The Sun newspaper in 2020.
Depp’s former estate manager Kevin Murphy raised eyebrows Down Under when he told the London court that Heard had ordered him to lie under oath after she flew the pets into Queensland in a private jet without declaring them.
Pistol and Boo should have been declared to customs and placed in 10-day quarantine but their arrival went undetected for several weeks until a grooming salon posted snaps of the cuddly pair to Facebook.
Depp and Heard were given 72 hours to send the dogs home or face having them seized and euthanised.
The Australian Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment said last week it was ‘investigating allegations of perjury by Ms Heard during court proceedings for the 2015 illegal importation of [her] two dogs into Australia.’ The spokesperson confirmed the case was ‘ongoing’. (Pictured: Heard outside a Fairfax, Virginia, court on May 27)
Heard eventually pleaded guilty to the lesser charge of falsifying an immigration document and accepted a fine of AU$10,000 (US$7,650) after her lawyer, Jeremy Kirk, insisted the paperwork for the dogs had ‘slipped through the cracks’ and there was ‘no attempt to deceive’.
Kirk said Heard thought her then-husband’s staff had completed the paperwork and was exhausted and suffering from sleep deprivation when she ticked the wrong box on her arrival card.
Heard and Depp also issued a video statement in which she expressed remorse for her actions.
The footage was widely mocked on social media with some fans saying the couple looked like they’d been kidnapped and held to ransom.
Pistol and Boo should have been declared to customs and placed in 10-day quarantine but their arrival went undetected for several weeks until a grooming salon posted snaps of the cuddly pair to Facebook. (Depp is pictured with one of his dogs)
Heard’s version of events went unchallenged until July 2020 when Depp’s former estate manager told London’s High Court in a written statement that he had repeatedly warned the actress about Australia’s strict animal entry rules.
‘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 said.
He went on to allege that, when the smuggling controversy erupted, Heard demanded he provide a ‘false statement’ to the Australian court saying she didn’t know anything about the requirements.
‘When I expressed that I was extremely uncomfortable with this, Ms. Heard said to me ‘Well I want your help on this … I wouldn’t want you to have a problem with your job.’
‘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,’ added Murphy, who worked for Depp for eight years.
Heard must pay Depp (pictured) US$10.35million after a U.S. court found she defamed the 59-year-old actor by describing herself as a domestic abuse victim in an opinion piece she wrote
Murphy later confirmed to TSWT.com he had been contacted by the FBI and had agreed to provide Australian authorities with a witness statement.
He declined to comment further.
The news of the ongoing perjury case against Heard comes just weeks after she was ordered to pay her ex-husband $10.35million in damages after a Virginia court found she defamed the actor by referring to herself as a survivor of domestic abuse in an opinion piece she wrote.
Depp sued Heard, to whom he was married from 2015 to 2017, over a December 2018 article she penned for The Washington Post describing herself as ‘a public figure representing domestic abuse’.
The jury found in Depp’s favour on all three of his claims relating to specific statements in the piece.
The jury found Depp should receive $10million in compensatory damages and $5million in punitive damages, but the judge reduced the punitive damages award to $350,000 under a state cap.
Heard has said she plans to appeal against the verdict.
The jury found in Depp’s favour on all three of his claims relating to specific statements in the piece. (The former couple is pictured on January 9, 2016, in Culver City, California)