Three months ago Johnny Depp appeared in a UK court after suing The Sun for an article they published about him in April 2018. In the piece, executive editor Dan Wootton referred to Depp as a “wife beater,” based on allegations of violence towards his ex-wife, Amber Heard. On Nov. 2 the ruling was announced, revealing that Johnny Depp had lost the libel case against The Sun.
Judge Mr Justice Nicol said the Sun had proved what was in the article to be "substantially true". 14 accounts of violence and abuse were discussed, with Heard giving evidence to the High Court over the 16-day trial held in July at the Royal Courts of Justice in London.
As it was a libel case, Depp had to argue that the newspaper story – titled "Gone Potty: How can JK Rowling be 'genuinely happy' casting wife beater Johnny Depp in the new Fantastic Beasts film?" – had caused “serious harm” to his reputation. The publication had to prove that the piece was written based on truth on the balance of probabilities.
During the trial The Sun said it relied on 14 different allegations of domestic violence over a three year period, between 2013 and 2016, reports the Independent. The judge found that 12 of the alleged acts did happen.
“Taking all the evidence together," he said, "I accept that she was the victim of sustained and multiple assaults by Mr Depp. I accept her evidence of the nature of the assaults he committed against her. They must have been terrifying. I accept that Mr Depp put her in fear of her life."
Furthermore, he referred to "a recurring theme in Mr Depp's evidence," which characterised Heard' as a "gold-digger" by having multiple affairs and crafting "a hoax and that she had done this as an 'insurance policy." The judge rejected this characterisation.
After the ruling came in, Depp’s lawyers said they would appeal the ruling and referred to the judgement as “perverse as it is bewildering.”
The Sun wrote, “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."
Depp has another legal case pending against his ex-wife. He is suing Heard in the U.S. over an opinion piece she wrote in the Washington Post, as per BBC News. Depp claims the article implied he was violent towards her.
Heard's lawyer in the U.S., Elaine Charlson Bredehoft, said the UK judgement was "not a surprise" and that "very soon, we will be presenting even more voluminous evidence" Stateside.
If you or someone you know is experiencing any form of domestic violence, you can reach the National Domestic Violence Hotline 24/7 at 800-799-7233, by texting LOVEIS to 22522, or through online chat. To learn more about how you can be an informed friend or family member to a domestic violence survivor, you can learn more through the Washington State Coalition Against Domestic Violence’s Friends & Family Guide.