Johnny Depp Loses ‘Wife Beater’ Libel Trial Against the Sun
Johnny Depp Loses ‘Wife Beater’ Libel Trial Against the Sun
Johnny Depp Loses ‘Wife Beater’ Libel Trial Against the Sun
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Johnny Depp loses ‘wife beater’ libel trial against the Sun

By Johanna Garner
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News has finally come back against Johnny Depp’s libel case against the Sun over claims that he repeatedly beat his ex-wife Amber Heard… The result may stain his career forever.

Just months ago the whole world became completely fixated on the constant flow of extreme domestic abuse claims coming from both Johnny Depp and Amber Heard.And after sitting through horrendous stories of physical abuse, trashed houses and defecation, the court has finally come to their conclusion...

Johnny Depp has lost the libel case.

The Suns’ comments were founded on the truth

Back in July Johnny Depp filed a libel suit against the Sun after they published an article on the actor labelling him a ‘wifebeater’. However, after bringing Depp’s ex-wife Amber Heard to the stand, the judge has ruled in favour of the publishing company.

The high court dismissed Depp’s claims for compensation but his lawyers have remarked that the actor is likely to try an appeal against the ‘perverse and bewildering decision’.

The ruling judge Justice Nicol wrote in the 129-page statement:

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.

Nicols also believes that Heard’s involvement in the court case has ‘had a negative effect on her career as an actress and as an activist’. The Judge went on to state that Depp’s characterisation of the actress as a ‘golddigger’ was unfounded:

I recognise that there were other elements to the divorce settlement as well, but her donation of … $7m to charity is hardly the act one would expect of a gold-digger.
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Nicols concluded his statement with email evidence, sent in 2016, of how Depp really felt towards his ex-wife:

I have no mercy, no fear and not an ounce of emotion or what I 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!!!

The court came to the conclusion that 12 out of the 14 of Heard’s abuse claims against Depp were well evidenced, meaning that the Sun’s reporting of the Pirates of the Caribbean star as a wifebeater was founded on truth:

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.

The Sun standing up for domestic abuse survivors

After the ruling of the case was made public, the Sun stated:

The Sun has stood up and campaigned for the victims of domestic abuse for over 20 years. Domestic abuse victims must never be silenced, and we thank the judge for his careful consideration and thank Amber Heard for her courage in giving evidence to the court.

The lawyer representing Heard in a similar case in the US, Elaine Charlson Bredehoft, has come forward stating that the ruling of the UK trail did not come as a surprise and she is determined to see justice for the Aquaman actress on her home soil.

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The director of communications and external relations at the domestic violence charity Refuge, Lisa King, has also released a powerful statement in support of Heard and all domestic abuse survivors:

This is an important ruling and one which we hope sends a very powerful message: every single survivor of domestic abuse should be listened to and should be heard. No survivor should ever have her voice silenced...We stand in solidarity with Amber Heard, who has shown immense bravery in speaking up and speaking out.

Depp is likely to retaliate further

Johnny Depp’s lawyers were unsurprisingly shocked with the outcome of the case and have stated that the actor is likely to appeal the ruling. Jenny Afia of the firm Schillings, who represented Depp, stated:

This decision is as perverse as it is bewildering. 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. The judgment is so flawed that it would be ridiculous for Mr Depp not to appeal this decision.

However, the decision to appeal the ruling may prove to be a difficult one for Depp and his lawyers as the judge’s rulings are seen as similar to that of a jury’s verdict where any appeals are usually made based on accounts of the law.

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A damaging stain on his career

After all the effort, time and taxpayer money spent on the trial it is clear to see that Depp will be stuck with his ‘wifebeater’ label from here on out and the judges ruling will no doubt affect his career.

A partner at the London law firm Stewarts, Emily Cox, spoke about how the libel case was likely to affect Depp’s reputation:

Although not a criminal determination of guilt, it is difficult to see how Depp will ever be able to shake off the ‘wife beater’ label now, personally and professionally. The judge expressly endorsed the notion that Depp had a ‘monster side’ and held that he did assault Heard and put her ‘in fear of her life’.

The ruling of the case may result in fewer companies throwing roles Depp’s way. With the Me Too movement still alive and well in Hollywood it may very well be that the actor might have to take a break from the film industry.


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