Johnny Depp loses libel case against The Sun over Amber Heard allegations, tabloid tags him 'wife-beater' again
The Sun did not waste any time in putting out an article within minutes of the verdict being announced, 'Johnny Depp WAS a wife-beater who attacked his ex-wife Amber Heard'
The verdict for Johnny Depp versus The Sun in the libel case brought on by the actor over a 2018 article published by the newspaper in which it claimed that the star was a "wife-beater" has gone against the 'Pirates of the Caribbean' actor. He has lost the case.
According to journalist Nick Wallis, Justice Nicol gave the following explanation for his decision: "The Claimant has not succeeded in his action for libel. 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 overarching considerations which the Claimant submitted I should take into account. In those circumstances, Parliament has said that a defendant has a complete defense. It has not been necessary to consider the fairness of the article or the defendants’ ‘malice’ because those are immaterial to the statutory defense of truth. The parties will have an opportunity to make submissions in writing as to the precise terms of the order which should follow my decision."
Par 588 "The Claimant has not succeeded in his action for libel. 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."— Nick Wallis (@nickwallis) November 2, 2020
Depp against News Group Newspapers, publishers of The Sun, as well as its executive editor Dan Wootton, over an April 2018 article, which the actor had alleged unfairly branded him a "wife-beater." During the trial, Depp strenuously denied the “overwhelming evidence” that The Sun said in its piece that they had of the 57-year-old attacking Heard, 34, during their four-year relationship. The allegations unfolded over three weeks in July at the Royal Courts of Justice in London. Both the 'Pirates of the Caribbean' actor as well as his former spouse, Amber Heard, were called on the stand to give evidence against each other as shocking details about their stormy private lives were revealed. The court heard allegations of severe domestic abuse, drug abuse, and extramarital affairs.
The Sun did not waste any time in putting out an article within minutes of the verdict being announced titled, "Johnny Depp WAS a wife-beater who attacked his ex-wife Amber Heard, judge rules as The Sun wins trial." The Sun later updated the headline of their article to read, "Johnny Depp verdict: Actor beat ex-wife Amber Heard 12 TIMES, judge rules as The Sun wins libel case trial."
In the piece, the Sun celebrated its victory over the actor. "In a stunning victory for press freedom, London’s High Court ruled we were RIGHT to brand the Pirates of the Caribbean actor a wife-beater for his brutal attacks on his ex-wife," it read. "Mr Justice Nicol threw out Depp’s defamation case after finding our story - which had always been staunchly backed by Ms. Heard - was accurate. Depp’s loss leaves his reputation in tatters, with his glittering silver screen career facing ruin."
A spokesperson for The Sun said: "The Sun has stood up and campaigned for the victims of domestic abuse for over twenty 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."