If Amber Heard defecated on Johnny Depp’s side of the bed in Australia, would it be a crime?
Pirates of the Caribbean star Johnny Depp and Aquaman actress Amber Heard’s legal battle saw some explosive evidence come to light.
One of the trial’s most shocking moments was when Ms Heard was questioned in the witness box about defecating on her former spouse, Johnny Depp’s side of the bed in April 2016.
Here’s some context for everyone who did not watch the trial.
The incident apparently followed an argument between the former spouses regarding Mr Depp being late to his ex-wife’s 30th birthday party.
Some time later, the soiled sheets were found by a housekeeper who informed Mr Depp of their discovery.
During the trial, Mr Depp alleged that either Ms Heard or one of her friends was responsible for the faecal matter.
However, when Ms Heard was asked about this by her lawyer, Elaine Bredehoft, during her time in the witness box, she vehemently denied this allegation.
Now that the trial is over and the Court has handed down its decision, there is only one question left to answer: could you be charged with a crime if you defecate on someone else’s bed in Australia?
The answer is yes.
What does the law say?
Section 195(1)(a) of the Crimes Act 1900 (NSW) stipulates that if you intentionally or recklessly destroy or damage property which belongs to someone else, you could be sent to jail for 5 years.
And – if you add fire or explosives to the mix – you could face 10 years behind bars (section 195(1)(b) of the Crimes Act 1900 (NSW)). That’s got to be actual explosives, not explosive diarrhea.
The penalty you receive for your crime depends on the value of the property you damage.
Now, let’s say that Mr Depp and Ms Heard’s case occurred in Australia, particularly NSW
If Ms Heard defecated on Mr Depp’s side of the bed and damaged the bed permanently or temporarily, she may have faced some time in prison.
What constitutes damage to someone else’s property?
If you alter the physical integrity of the property in some way either permanently or temporarily, you have destroyed or damaged it (Grajewski v Director of Public Prosecutions (NSW)  HCA 8).
However if you do not alter the physical integrity of the property, then you cannot be charged with damaging or destroying property. For example, in Hammond v R  NSWCCA 93, the Court found that spitting on a metal seat would generally not constitute damage.
For most people, the existence of feaces(poo) would make the bed unusable, and thus damaged. Some might even throw the whole mattress out.
As for proof, feaces contains DNA and it can be tested to see who ‘owned’ it. I was once involved in a case in Dubbo which involved urine on a bed, yes – gross. It may not surprise you, but the finger was again pointed towards an animal (I think a goat rather than a dog like it was in the Depp v Heard case).
The lesson here is to be very careful with someone else’s property, and ensure that you defecate within the parameters of your toilet – a vessel that is purposely made to deal with such waste.