Depp accompanied his wife, Amber Heard, for the hearing at a
packed courthouse in the Southport magistrates court, near where
he had been shooting a "Pirates of the Caribbean" sequel when
the scandal erupted last year.
Bringing an end to what the Australian media had gleefully
dubbed the "war on terrier", a magistrate filed no conviction
for Heard but issued a formal order to stay out of trouble for a
month or face a A$1,000 ($767) fine.
Heard, 29, had faced charges of illegally importing animals
after authorities accused the couple of flying their Yorkshire
Terriers, Pistol and Boo, into the country without going through
proper quarantine procedures.
But on Monday, the court learned that state prosecutors agreed
to drop those charges when Heard pleaded guilty to a lesser
charge of lying on an incoming passenger form when entering the
country to visit Depp on set last year.
For the A-list couple, the result is a reassuringly un-Hollywood
ending to their brush with Australia's notoriously tough
The original charges against Heard carried a prison sentence of
up to 10 years and a fine of A$10,000.
The ruling also drew a line under the unlikely diplomatic tangle
between the celebrity pair and Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby
Joyce, who in his capacity as farm minister threatened to have
the dogs put down if Depp and Heard did not remove them.
Depp made no comments before entering the courthouse other than
brief pleasantries to waiting media.
In court, Heard's lawyers played a video apology in which the
expressionless couple praised Australia's biosecurity rules and
Depp noted that "if you disrespect Australian law, they will
tell you firmly".
[to top of second column]
Heard added, in the video, that Australia was "a wonderful island"
and she was "truly sorry that Pistol and Boo were not declared"
because "protecting Australia is important".
Heard's lawyer, Jeremy Kirk, told the court his client was jetlagged
and worried about a hand injury Depp received on set, and believed
all appropriate arrangements in relation to the dogs had been made.
"She has made a tired, terrible mistake," he said.
For Joyce, the result also represents a win since it vindicates the
rural politician's decision to go public with his complaint about
the couple's violation of the country's animal import laws. He faces
a general election on July, with opinion polls showing support for
the government sinking.
In a statement, Joyce said he appreciated Heard's "willingness to
take responsibility for her actions" and "acknowledgement that she
broke our national biosecurity laws".
He used more rugged language 11 months ago when he warned that "if
we start letting movie stars, even though they've been the sexiest
man alive twice — to come into our nation (with pets), then why
don't we just break the laws for everybody?"
($1 = 1.3046 Australian dollars)
(Reporting by Byron Kaye)
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