UK court rejects Johnny Depp’s candidacy to appeal libel decision

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UK court rejects Johnny Depp's candidacy to appeal libel decision


LONDON – A UK court on Thursday denied Johnny Depp leave to appeal a judge’s ruling that he assaulted ex-wife Amber Heard, saying his attempt to overturn the ruling had “failed” no real chance of success ”.
Two Court of Appeals judges said the Hollywood star could not challenge the High Court’s dismissal of his libel case against the publisher of The Sun newspaper for calling him a “wife beater” in an article.

Judges James Dingemans and Nicholas Underhill said the prior hearing was “complete and fair” and the trial judge’s findings “were not even shown to be flawed by an error of approach or error. by right “.

They concluded that “the appeal has no real chance of success and that there is no other compelling reason for it to be heard.”

High Court Judge Andrew Nicol ruled in November that the allegations against Depp, made in an April 2018 article, were “substantially true”. The judge ruled that Depp, 57, had assaulted Heard, 34, a dozen times and made him fear for his life on three occasions.

Depp’s lawyers argued at a court hearing last week that Depp had not received a fair hearing and that Heard was not a reliable witness. As proof of his unreliability, they claimed Heard broke his promise to donate his $ 7 million divorce settlement to charity.

Appeals judges said it was “pure speculation, and in our opinion highly unlikely” that the fate of the divorce money influenced Judge Nicol’s decision.

“It is clear from reading the judgment as a whole that the judge based his conclusions on each of the incidents on his extremely detailed examination of the evidence specific to each incident,” they said.

“In such an approach, the judge needed little or enough room to give weight to a general assessment of Ms. Heard’s credibility. ”

Depp and Heard met on the set of the 2011 comedy “The Rum Diary” and married in Los Angeles in February 2015. Heard, model and actress, filed for divorce the following year and was granted a restraining order. against Depp for abusing. The divorce was finalized in 2017.

The High Court ruling came after a three-week trial that made headlines in July, in which Depp and Heard gave conflicting accounts of their brief and tumultuous marriage, each accusing the other of be controlling, violent and deceptive.

During the trial, Depp admitted to broad drug issues, but accused Heard of fabricating abuse allegations and insisted he was “not a violent person, especially with women. “.

Heard’s public relations firm said in a statement it was “satisfied – but not surprised” by the appeal court’s decision.

“Mr. Depp’s assertion of important new evidence was nothing more than a press strategy and was strongly rejected by the court,” the statement said.

Jeffrey Smele of the law firm Simons Muirhead and Burton, who represented the editor of Sun News Group Newspapers, said Thursday’s decision was “a victory for press freedom and for victims of domestic violence everywhere.”

Lawyers for Depp said the allegations in The Sun caused “serious damage” to the actor’s reputation and “significant distress and embarrassment.” Following the November court ruling, Depp said he was quitting the “Fantastic Beasts” film franchise after studio Warner Bros. asked for his resignation.

Depp is also suing Heard for US $ 50 million in Virginia over a Washington Post opinion piece she wrote on domestic violence. The trial in this case was recently postponed until April 2022.

British lawyer for Depp, Joelle Rich of Schillings Partners, said “there are clear and objective reasons to seriously question the decision taken by the British court”.

“Mr. Depp looks forward to presenting full and irrefutable proof of the truth in the US libel case against Ms. Heard where she will be required to provide full disclosure,” said Rich.

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