Johnny Depp Loses “Wife Beater” Libel Case Against The Sun And Amber Heard
Johnny Depp has lost his libel case against the Sun newspaper over an article that called him a “wife beater” and there was “overwhelming evidence” that he had assaulted ex-wife Amber Heard.
Depp, 57, had sued the British newspaper publisher, News Group Newspapers (NGN), and its executive editor, Dan Wootton, over an article that claimed he assaulted Heard during their volatile two-year marriage. The article published in the Sun in April 2018 originally carried the headline “Gone Potty: How can JK Rowling be ‘genuinely happy’ casting wife beater Johnny Depp in the new Fantastic Beasts film?”
High Court Judge Andrew Nicol on Monday dismissed the Pirates of the Caribbean star’s claim saying the newspaper group’s article had been proven to be “substantially true”, adding “the claimant has not succeeded in his action for libel”.
The judge said: “Although he has proved the necessary elements of his cause of action in libel, the defendants have shown that what they published in the meaning which I have held the words to bear was substantially true.
“I have reached these conclusions having examined in detail the 14 incidents on which the defendants rely, as well as the over-arching considerations which the claimant submitted I should take into account.”
The long-awaited decision came more than three months after the high court hearing finished in late July. The high profile three-week trial which featured claims of drug abuse and domestic violence was dubbed “the biggest English libel trial of the 21st century”.
A spokesperson for the Sun said: “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.”
In a statement, Ms Heard’s lawyer in the US said: “For those of us present for the London High Court trial, this decision and judgment are not a surprise.
“Very soon, we will be presenting even more voluminous evidence in the US. We are committed to obtaining justice for Amber Heard in the US Court and defending Ms Heard’s right to free speech.”