Johnny Depp has lost his appeal against the judgment of Mr. Justice Nicol. The controversial High Court judgment was handed down in November following a libel trial in which Depp and ex-wife Amber Heard’s dirty laundry was aired in public, concluding with the judge believing Heard’s testimony, saying that it wasn’t libellous to call him a “wife beater,” and consequentially inflicting immense career damage on Depp.
Though the trial judge denied Johnny’s application for permission to appeal, he had the right to apply to the Court of Appeal directly. They accepted his application and held a hearing last week before two Lord Justices of Appeal. The court has now released their judgment, though, and it’s not good reading for Depp, ruling that his team advanced no convincing legal argument and that they refuse permission to make further appeals.
“The hearing before Nicol J was full and fair, and he 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’s lawyers had argued that Heard was lying when she said that she’d made a $7M charitable donation, and that this was a key factor in the lower court judge’s decision. The judges said they considered this to be irrelevant and made no finding on the issue, noting that Johnny’s lawyers didn’t raise it at trial and that there’s no reason to believe it affected Nicol J’s reasoning.
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A spokeswoman for The Sun newspaper, the subject of the libel claim, responded triumphantly, saying:
“The case had a full, fair and proper hearing, and today’s 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.”
Heard’s team also released a statement, stating:
“We are pleased – but by no means surprised – by the court’s denial of Mr Depp’s application for an appeal. The evidence presented in the UK case was overwhelming and undeniable. 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.”
This is yet another blow for Depp, though winning this appeal was always a long shot. The actor’s legal team will now be looking forward to the defamation case in Virginia, scheduled for summer 2022. Johnny’s lawyer, Joelle Rich of Schillings Partners, has told Deadline that she “seriously questioned” the judgment of the UK court and that he’s looking forward to “presenting the complete irrefutable evidence of the truth in the U.S. libel case against Ms. Heard where she will have to provide full disclosure.”
But right now, it’s once again a bad day for Johnny Depp and yet more vindication for Amber Heard.