Washington: American actor Johnny Depp’s appeal to overturn the ruling in his ‘wife beater’ libel case has been rejected by the British court on Thursday (local time).
According to People Magazine, the ‘Pirates of the Caribbean’ star had submitted a plea in the court on the grounds that his ex-wife and American actor Amber Heard’s pledge to donate the divorce settlement amount of USD 7 million to a charity was a calculated and manipulative lie.
The application of Depp which asked for a fresh trial in order to seek a different outcome was refused by the London court judges named Lord Justice Underhill and Lord Justice Dingemans.
The official statement read, “Following a hearing last week, the Court of Appeal has refused permission to Johnny Depp to appeal against the dismissal of his claim for libel against News Group Newspapers and one of its journalists,” the Lord Justices wrote in an official summary of their ruling.
“The claim was based on a story in The Sun alleging that he had beaten his former wife, Amber Heard. After a three-week trial in the High Court last year, in which both Mr. Depp and Ms. Heard gave evidence, Mr.
Justice Nicol found that the allegation was true,” the statement continued.
The court added that the judgement emphasized that an appeal against the decision of a trial judge on questions of disputed fact faced serious difficulties: of its judgment and that none of the criticisms of the Judge’s reasoning or conclusion advanced on behalf of Mr. Depp had a real prospect of success.
The statement also highlighted that the 2020 court trial was ‘full and fair’.
People Magazine reported that after the court’s decision was made, a spokesperson for the ‘Aquaman’ star said, “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,” the spokesperson added.
Not only this, but the court’s verdict also shut down the legal claims of Depp against The Sun newspaper for ‘wrongly’ addressing him as a ‘wife-beater’ in a 2018 article.
In reply to the court’s decision, lawyers for The Sun said, “It’s a victory for the freedom of the press and for victims of domestic violence everywhere.”
The Sun’s attorney Jeffrey Smele in a written statement to PEOPLE also added “In a case widely labelled as the ‘libel trial of the century,’ the court heard evidence from over 30 witnesses and reviewed more than a dozen files of evidence. The Court of Appeal has now turned down any form of additional appeal. For our clients, this will thankfully, finally, bring this matter to a close.”
Earlier this week, the 57-year-old star also claimed that the original trial ruling should be overturned on the basis that his ex-wife’s pledge to donate the USD 7 million divorce settlement amount to charity was a “calculated and manipulative lie” to influence Justice Nicol.
To back the claim, Heard’s lawyers presented new evidence that showed that the 34-year-old had donated more than USD 5 million to the ACLU and the Children’s Hospital of Los Angeles since the couple’s 2016 divorce.
They also added the actor had pledged to donate for 10 years to both charities. To support this, Heard’s attorneys also provided evidence that showed the ‘Justice League’ star had also gifted a total of USD 9.5 Million to the ACLU and USD 8.5 Million to the Children’s Hospital through anonymous donors.
With Thursday’s orders, the court also stated that the board could not make a ruling about whether Heard’s statements were “misleading” and added that Depp’s legal team should also have raised the question of whether her pledge was a “calculated and manipulative lie” during the original trial itself.
On a related note, while the latest verdict signals the end of Depp’s legal case in the UK Court, the actor still continues to fight a USD 50 Million defamation case against Heard in the US, which is slated to begin on May 3, this year in Fairfax County, Virginia.
Depp’s spokesperson named Joelle Rich, from Schillings Partners in London, also issued a statement on behalf of the actor to People Magazine and 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,” the statement concluded.