UK Court To Consider Depp Appeal Bid Of “Wife-Beater” Libel Ruling
Hollywood star Johnny Depp‘s bid to overturn a high-profile British libel ruling over reports he assaulted his ex-wife Amber Heard will head back to court on Thursday, as the actor seeks formal permission to appeal.
The Pirates of the Caribbean star lost his battle for damages in November over a 2018 newspaper article that branded him a “wife-beater”.
The Court of Appeal in London will on Thursday hear his application to review the libel case against the publishers of The Sun tabloid newspaper.
Depp was ordered to pay News Group Newspapers (NGN) £628,000 ($873,000, 733,000 euros) in legal costs from the trial, which laid bare the actor’s chaotic lifestyle and battles with alcohol and drug addiction.
Judge Andrew Nicol, who heard the case, previously refused him grounds to appeal but said he could apply directly to the Court of Appeal to overturn his judgment, which Depp then did.
In documents since filed with the Court of Appeal, Depp’s lawyer David Sherborne claimed Nicol’s ruling was “plainly wrong”.
He argued the judge had failed to examine the competing accounts of each incident of alleged violence by Depp towards Heard, or “explain whether he found them proved and, if so, on what basis”.
However, Adam Wolanski, the lawyer representing NGN, countered that Nicol had conducted “a painstaking analysis of the evidence”.
“There is no basis to conclude that the judge failed to examine the evidence or provide reasons for his findings,” he added in his submission.
After the November ruling, Depp said he had been asked to step down from his role in the “Fantastic Beasts” film franchise based on the book by Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling.
The case was dubbed “the biggest English libel trial of the 21st century” and the legal odds had appeared to be stacked in Depp’s favour.
Depp vehemently rejected accusations that he hurt Heard while battling a drug addiction over a three-year span that ended with her 2016 decision to get a restraining order and file for divorce.
He is also suing Heard in the United States over a 2018 Washington Post article in which she claimed to be a victim of domestic violence.