Johnny Depp Loses Libel Case Against UK Tabloid Over Amber Heard 'Wife Beater' Claims11/02/2020
The official ruling is in: Johnny Depp has lost his libel case against The Sun newspaper over their 2018 article which described him as a “wife beater” during his marriage to Amber Heard.
After weeks of hearings at London’s High Court, it was determined the defendants of the British tabloid “have shown that what they published was substantially true.” The decision came down from presiding Justice Andrew Nicol, who ruled in favor of the outlet’s publisher News Group Newspapers and executive editor Dan Wooton, who penned the infamous post saying the 57-year-old actor was violent towards his ex-wife on at least 14 occasions.
Depp originally sued both parties and also filed a $50 million lawsuit against Heard for defaming him in an opinion piece she wrote for The Washington Post that same year.
Per court statements obtained by NBC News, Nicol said the defendants were able to successfully prove their allegations by UK’s strict libel law standards. His written judgement read:
“I have found that the great majority of alleged assaults of Ms. Heard by Mr. Depp have been proved to the civil standard.”
Reacting to the landmark ruling, the Pirates of the Caribbean star reportedly plans to appeal the court’s decision, with his legal team calling it “as perverse as it is bewildering.” Johnny’s lawyers insist he is “entitled to very substantial damages” because of the harm to his reputation caused by the allegations, which he denied and labeled as a “hoax.”
Jenny Afia, a partner at the law firm Schillings, who is representing Depp, said:
“The judgment is so flawed that it would be ridiculous for Mr. Depp not to appeal this decision.”
Afia noted the judge had relied too heavily on Amber’s testimony, while disregarding a “mountain of counter-evidence” from police, medical practitioners and documentary sources, which “completely undermined the allegations.” Depp had told the court he was never violent toward Heard, who he met in 2009 while filming The Rum Diary and married years later in 2015. The actress filed for divorce after just 15 months and obtained a restraining order against him.
As we’ve been following, Depp has instead insisted his ex-wife regularly attacked him throughout their marriage with even his lawyer, David Sherborne, going after Heard’s credibility by calling her a “wholly unreliable witness” and a compulsive liar. You’ll likely recall, Depp’s former long-term partner Vanessa Paradis and his ex-girlfriend Winona Ryder both gave character witness statements saying he was never violent toward them — but it sounds like those testimonies didn’t help turn the tide.
Instead, Judge Nicols found that the case presented by The Sun‘s team was correct. Reps for the tabloid claimed they had shown enough evidence of the longtime actor’s violent rages against Heard brought on by alcohol or drugs on several occasions from 2013-2016. Contrarily, the actor shared several instances of her alleged verbal and physical abuse towards him.
Heard’s lawyer, Elaine Charlson Bredehoft, shared their team could not be more pleased with the trail results:
“For those of us present for the London High Court trial, this decision and judgment are not a surprise.”
Bredehoft added they plan to carry the momentum of this win over to the Aquaman star’s counter defamation suit against her ex in the States, which has been set for mid-next year on May 3, 2021:
“Very soon, we will be presenting even more voluminous evidence in the U.S. We are committed to obtaining justice for Amber Heard in the U.S. court and defending Ms. Heard’s right to free speech.”
Perezcious readers, we’ll keep you posted with any new developments in this litigation as they come.
Any thoughts on her big win?? We want to hear it all in the comments (below).
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