Amber Heard ‘vindicated’ as UK court rejects Depp appeal
London – US actress Amber Heard and British tabloid The Sun said they were vindicated after a UK court on Thursday refused Johnny Depp the right to appeal against a ruling that he was a wife-beater.
The 57-year-old Hollywood actor had sought to challenge a November 2020 ruling in a high-profile libel action that upheld claims in the newspaper that he beat Heard during their stormy marriage.
A spokesman for Heard, 34, said she was was “pleased – but by no means surprised by the decision”, adding the “evidence presented in the UK case was overwhelming and undeniable”.
The Sun said it “had every confidence that this leave to appeal application would not be granted and are pleased with today’s decision”.
Two judges at the Court of Appeal dismissed Depp’s application to challenge the High Court ruling, finding that the original hearing had been “full and fair”.
The trial judge “gave thorough reasons for his conclusions which have not been shown even arguably to be vitiated by any error of approach or mistake of law”.
Depp was unlikely to overturn the findings of a trial judge on purely factual questions, they added.
The original ruling saw him ordered to pay the newspaper’s publishers News Group Newspapers (NGN) £628,000 in legal costs.
His lawyers at the time called the ruling “as perverse as it is bewildering”, arguing a “mountain of counter-evidence” was disregarded that “completely undermined” the claims.
Earlier this month, Depp’s lawyers cast doubt on testimony given by Heard arguing that she had only paid a fraction of her divorce settlement to charity, rather than all of it, as she had claimed.
Heard’s spokesman said those claims were “nothing more than a press strategy” that had “been soundly rejected by the court”.
The Sun added the decision “vindicates the courageous evidence that Amber Heard gave to the court about domestic abuse, despite repeated attempts to undermine and silence her by the perpetrator”.
The libel case has already damaged Depp’s career, as he was asked to leave the Fantastic Beasts franchise, the movie spin-offs from the Harry Potter books and films, days after Nicol’s verdict.
However, he has also filed a US$50 million defamation lawsuit against Heard in a Virginia court over an opinion piece she wrote in The Washington Post, and that case is ongoing.
Depp’s lawyer Joelle Rich said: “The evidence presented at last week’s hearing further demonstrates that there are clear and objective reasons to seriously question the decision reached in the UK court.
“Mr Depp looks forward to presenting the complete, irrefutable evidence of the truth in the US libel case against Ms Heard where she will have to provide full disclosure.” - AFP/REUTERS