The Hollywood actor Johnny Depp has lost a bid to overturn a damning high court ruling that concluded he assaulted his ex-wife Amber Heard and left her in fear for her life.
Following a three-week trial in July last year, Mr Justice Nicol dismissed the star’s libel claim against the publisher of the Sun, finding that a column published in April 2018 calling Depp a “wife beater” was “substantially true”.
The judge that ruled Depp, 57, assaulted Heard, 34, on a dozen occasions and put her in “fear for her life” three times.
The actor asked the court of appeal to grant permission for him to challenge the ruling, with the aim of having its findings overturned and a retrial ordered. However, following a hearing last week, on Thursday the court refused Depp permission to appeal.
Lord Justice Underhill and Lord Justice Dingemans emphasised that an appeal against the trial judge’s decision on questions of disputed fact faced serious difficulties.
Part of Depp’s argument relied on further evidence that Heard had not yet given away most of the $7m (£5.1m) she received in her divorce settlement, which she had said she was donating to charity.
Underhill said: “We refuse Mr Depp’s application to admit further evidence in support of his proposed appeal and we conclude that the appeal has no real prospect of success and that there is no other compelling reason for it to be heard. We accordingly refuse permission to appeal.”
A spokesperson for Heard said: “We are pleased – but by no means surprised – by the court’s denial of Mr Depp’s application for 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.”
A spokesperson for the Sun said: “The Sun had every confidence that this leave to appeal application would not be granted and are pleased with today’s decision.
“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. The Sun will continue to stand up and campaign for victims of domestic abuse.”
More details soon …