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Johnny Depp Loses Libel Case Against The Sun's "Wife Beater" Article

Johnny Depp Loses Libel Case Against The Sun's "Wife Beater" Article

High Court Judge Andrew Nicol ruled the content of the controversial article to be "substantially true," and sided with majority of Heard's abuse claims.

Johnny Depp lost his libel case against British tabloid the Sun over an article that branded him a "wife-beater" following Amber Heard's abuse claims.

Judge Andrew Nicol dismissed Depp's claim and said the Sun had proved what was in the article to be "substantially true," adding: "the claimant has not succeeded in his action for libel."

Depp sued the tabloid's publisher News Group Newspapers (NGN), and author and Executive Editor Dan Wooton over the 2018 article originally titled: ‘GONE POTTY How Can JK Rowling be “genuinely happy” casting wife-beater Johnny Depp in the new Fantastic Beasts film?’.

On 28th April 2018, the headline on the website was edited into: ‘GONE POTTY How Can J K Rowling be “genuinely happy” casting Johnny Depp in the new Fantastic Beasts film after assault claim?’ 

Dan Wooton

The trial ran for about three weeks, and despite numerous witnesses including Depp's ex's coming to his defense and vouching for his good character, the judge believed otherwise.

Judge Nicol is convinced that 12 of the 14 alleged events of domestic violence had occurred.

"I have found that the great majority of alleged assaults of Ms. Heard by Mr. Depp have been proved to the civil standard," Judge Nicol said.

He added: "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."

Depp's lawyers called the ruling "perverse" and revealed the Hollywood actor is planning to appeal the decision.

"This decision is as perverse as it is bewildering," Jenny Afia of Schilling's law firm said as via BBC

Johnny Depp and Amber Heard

Afia is troubled by the judge's "reliance on the testimony of Amber Heard," disregarding numerous counter-evidence from police officers, medical practitioners, and other witnesses and an array of documentary evidence which she believes "completely undermined" Heard's allegations.

"The judgment is so flawed that it would be ridiculous for Mr. Depp not to appeal this decision," Afia added.

Meanwhile, The Sun thanked the judge for his "careful consideration" and Depp's estranged wife Amber Heard "for her courage in giving evidence to the court."

The case now dubbed as "the biggest English libel trial of the 21st century" ran for 16 days in July at the Royal Courts of Justice in London.

The allegations of abuse and violence spanned between 2013 and 2016, and judge Nicol cited three incidents where he said the Pirates of the Caribbean actor had put Heard in "fear for her life."

One of those incidents happened in Australia in 2015, when Depp allegedly physically and verbally abused Heard while drinking heavily and taking drugs.

Depp claimed Heard severed his finger, but the judge did not believe she is responsible for the injury.

"Taking all the evidence together, I accept that she was the victim of sustained and multiple assaults by Mr. Depp in Australia," said Judge Nicol.

The judge added: "It is a sign of the depth of his rage that he admitted scrawling graffiti in blood from his injured finger and then, when that was insufficient, dipping his badly injured finger in paint and continuing to write messages and other things,"

"I accept her evidence of the nature of the assaults he committed against her. They must have been terrifying."

Elaine Charlson Bredehoft, Heard's lawyer in the US, said the ruling was "not a surprise."

"Very soon, we will be presenting even more voluminous evidence in the US," Bredehoft said, adding: "We are committed to obtaining justice for Amber Heard in the US court and defending Ms. Heard's right to free speech."

Depp sued Heard in a separate case in the United States over an opinion piece she wrote in the Washington Post. Although Heard did not mention Depp's name in the op-ed, Depp claims that it implies he is violent towards her.

You may read the full court document of Depp's libel case against NGN and Dan Wootton here

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