Actor Johnny Depp has lost his big libel case against the British tabloid The Sun over their 2018 article wherein they called him a "wife-beater". He had filed the case, seeking compensation for the newspaper's claims that they had "overwhelming evidence" that he had assaulted his wife, actress Amber Heard, repeatedly during the course of their marriage.
The ruling was issued online on Monday, more than three months after the high court hearing finished, and effectively dismissed the claims by the Pirates of the Caribbean star. In his 129-page-long ruling, Andrew Nicol, the British judge who heard the case, wrote that the claims made by the newspaper in its 2018 article are "substantially true."
"The claimant [Depp] has not succeeded in his action for libel ... The defendants [the Sun and News Group Newspapers] have shown that what they published in the meaning which I have held the words to bear was substantially true. I have found that the great majority of alleged assaults of Ms Heard by Mr Depp have been proved to the civil standard."
Observing that the assaults "must have been terrifying," the judge cited an incident that took place in March 2015 in Australia wherein Depp allegedly severely assaulted her. He reportedly bashed a telephone beside her face. "I accept that Mr. Depp put her in fear of her life," the judge wrote.
He went on to note that in making allegations against Depp, Heard has also experienced "a negative effect on her career as an actor and activist" and thus he does not accept Depp's claims that his ex-wife is a gold-digger.
"I have reached these conclusions having examined in detail the 14 incidents on which the defendants rely as well as the overarching considerations which the claimant submitted, I should take into account. In those circumstances, parliament has said that a defendant has a complete defence."
"I recognise that there were other elements to the divorce settlement as well," Nicol added, "but her donation of ... $7m to charity is hardly the act one would expect of a gold-digger." The judge noted that of 14 incidents of assault that have been reported by Heard, he found 12 backed by enough proof.
"I do not regard [the Sun's] inability to make good these allegations [in the other two incidents] as of importance in determining whether they have established the substantial truth of the words that they published."
He also refers to an email sent by Depp in August 2016, wherein the actor admitted that he has, "no mercy, no fear and not an ounce of emotion" or what he once thought, "was love for this gold-digging, low level, dime a dozen, mushy, pointless dangling overused flappy fish market."
"I can only hope that karma kicks in and takes the gift of breath from her ... Sorry man ... But NOW I will stop at nothing!!!"
This libel case was filed by Johnny Depp in which he sued News Group Newspapers, the publishers of The Sun and Dan Wootton, its executive editor, over a 2018 article. Titled "Gone Potty: How can JK Rowling be 'genuinely happy' casting wife-beater Johnny Depp in the new Fantastic Beasts film?" the article claimed that Depp had assaulted Heard and urged J.K. Rowling to get the actor removed from the Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them sequel.
Elaine Charlson Bredehoft, the US lawyer representing Heard in her impending defamation case, does not find the ruling at all surprising and is confident that justice will be served again when they present "even more voluminous evidence in the US court." But according to Jenny Afia, the solicitor who represented Depp, chances are that the actor will appeal against the "perverse and bewildering decision".
"Most troubling is the judge's reliance on the testimony of Amber Heard, and corresponding disregard of the mountain of counter-evidence from police officers, medical practitioners, her own former assistant, other unchallenged witnesses and an array of documentary evidence which completely undermined the allegations, point by point. All of this was overlooked."
According to Johnny Depp's lawyers, the judgment is "so flawed" that it would make no sense for the actor to not appeal against the decision. This news comes to us via the courtesy of The Guardian.