The Hollywood actor Johnny Depp has lost an attempt to overturn a damning high court ruling that concluded he assaulted his ex-wife Amber Heard and left her in fear for her life.
After a three-week trial in July last year, Mr Justice Nicol dismissed the star’s lawsuit against the publisher of the Sun, finding that the April 2018 column calling Depp a “wife beater” was “substantially true”.
The judge, who ruled Depp, 57, beat Heard, 34, several times and sentenced him to “fear for her life” three times.
The actor asked the appellate court to give him permission to appeal the decision, with a view to having his findings changed and re-ordered. However, following last week’s hearing, on Thursday the court rejected the depp’s permission to appeal.
King Justice Underhill and King Justice Dingemans have stressed that challenging the judge’s decision on questions of disputed fact faced serious difficulties.
Part of Depp’s argument is based on further evidence that Heard had not yet paid most of the $ 7m (£ 5.1m) he had received in her divorce decision, which she said she was donating to a charity.
At a hearing last week, Depp’s attorney, Andrew Caldecott QC, said the allegations were “fabricated and deceptive” which gave Heard “great impetus to her credibility as a human being”, and “tipped the scales against Mr Depp from the very beginning”.
Conclusion Of The Court
But Lord Justice Underhill said: “We do not accept that there is any ground for believing that the judge may have been influenced by any such general perception as Mr Caldecott relies on.
“In the first place, he does not refer to her charitable donation at all in the context of his central findings.
“On the contrary, he only mentions it in a very particular context … and after he had already reached his conclusions in relation to the 14 incidents.”
Underhill concluded his ruling by saying: “We refuse Mr Depp’s application to admit further evidence in support of his proposed appeal and we conclude that the appeal has no real prospect of success and that there is no other compelling reason for it to be heard. We accordingly refuse permission to appeal.”
What Did Johnny’s Lawyer Say?
Depp’s UK lawyer, Joelle Rich of Schillings Partners, said the evidence presented at last week’s hearing “continues to show that there are clear reasons and motives for seriously questioning a decision reached in a UK court”.
She said Depp looked forward to “presenting the complete, irrefutable evidence of the truth in the US libel case against Heard where she will have to provide full disclosure”.
“To reiterate, the original verdict was that Mr Depp committed domestic violence against Amber on no fewer than 12 occasions and she was left in fear of her life.
“The verdict and lengthy, well-reasoned judgment, including the confidential judgment, have been affirmed. Mr Depp’s claim of new and important evidence was nothing more than a press strategy, and has been soundly rejected by the court.”