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Johnny Depp refused permission to appeal “wife beater” libel verdict

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Johnny Depp has been denied permission to appeal his libel case against News Group Newspapers.

The actor, who took The Sun to court last year over an article which called him “a wife beater” originally lost the case and has since been refused his application to appeal the decision.

Today (March 25), a judge ruled that Depp’s appeal had “no real prospect of success,” according to the BBC.

Depp had tried to sue News Group Newspapers (NGN) and The Sun’s executive editor Dan Wootton over an April 2018 article which referred to him as a “wife beater” in relation to allegations from ex-wife Amber Heard, claims Depp has strongly denied. The actor is currently suing Heard for libel in the US as well.

The trial originally took place over 16 days in July 2020 at the Royal Courts of Justice, and concerned an article titled “Gone Potty: How can JK Rowling be ‘genuinely happy’ casting wife beater Johnny Depp in the new Fantastic Beasts film?”

In a ruling on November 2, 2020, Judge Mr Justice Nicol said that he found the words to be “substantially true”.

Amber Heard and Johnny Depp
Amber Heard and Johnny Depp

“Although he has proved the necessary elements of his cause of action in libel, the defendants have shown that what they published in the meaning which I have held the words to bear was substantially true,” he said (via BBC News).

A spokesperson for The Sun said following the ruling: “The Sun has stood up and campaigned for the victims of domestic abuse for over 20 years. 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.”

Regarding the judge’s decision today, Joelle Rich, of Schillings Partners, the law firm representing Depp in the UK, said in a statement: “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.”

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