Famous for courtroom clashes and drunken abuses, Johnny Depp and Amber Heard’s relationship has always been chaotic and now The Sun newspaper has joined their controversial life by winning a libel case trial against Depp. In the British newspaper’s 2018 article, Depp was tagged as a ‘wife beater’ in a contentious article revolving around his role in JK Rowling’s Fantastic beasts and where to find them. The article’s headline read “Gone Potty: How can JK Rowling be ‘genuinely happy’ casting wife beater Johnny Depp in the new Fantastic Beasts film?’’. The infuriated actor denied the allegations and retaliated by filing a defamation lawsuit against News Group Newspapers (NGN) publisher of the Sun and the its executive editor, Dan Wootton. This was followed by a hectic libel trial at the Royal Courts of Justice, London in July that lasted over 16 days and the final verdict has proved Johnny Depp guilty of the accusations. Lawyers for the Sun in the court filings, cited evidence from photos, audio recordings and text messages claiming that Depp “beat his wife Amber Heard, causing her to suffer significant injury, and on occasion leading to her fearing for her life”. Johnny’s lawyer, David Sherborne bluntly stated “He has never hit a woman in his entire life — period, full stop, nada,” but the court proceedings unveiled all the reasons his statement was false.
The Judge, Justice Andrew Nicolon Monday, ruled in the favour of Sun’s claims and said that the article’s content 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,’’ said Mr. Justice Nicol. “Taking all the evidence together, I accept that she was the victim of sustained and multiple assaults by Mr. Depp in Australia,” the judge added.
“The Claimant has not succeeded in his action for libel,’’ the court summary read on Monday. “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,’’ it was exclusively revealed on USA TODAY.
Amber Heard was the prime witness for The Sun in these trials and has experienced a similar scenario where Depp has filed a $50 million defamation lawsuit in an unrelated case for her article in The Washington Post (2018) which insinuated Depp’s violent behaviour. The trial of this case is scheduled for next May. On the last day of the trial back in July, Heard who met the Pirates of The Caribbean actor on the set of their movie ‘The Rum Diary’ said the case had been ‘’incredibly painful” and she’s only hoping to ‘’move with her life’’.
Following the verdict , A spokesperson for 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 actress’s lawyer further remarked “For those of us present for the London High Court trial, this decision and judgment are not a surprise”