02:01 GMT21 April 2021
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    Hollywood star Johnny Depp sued News Group Newspapers (NGN) in 2018 after The Sun newspaper printed an article with the following headline: "Gone Potty: How can JK Rowling be 'genuinely happy' casting wife beater Johnny Depp in the new Fantastic Beasts film?" Depp launched an appeal after the court ruled in favour of NGN in November.

    Johnny Depp has been refused the right to appeal against a High Court judge's ruling that rejected his libel lawsuit against The Sun newspaper and its Executive Editor Dan Wootton.

    In April 2018 Mr Wootton wrote an article in The Sun which claimed Depp had beaten his actress wife Amber Heard.

    Depp sued The Sun’s owners and the author of the article, claiming it wrongly portrayed him as being guilty of domestic violence.

    ​At a hearing last week Andrew Caldecott QC, representing Depp, said they had fresh evidence which they believed undermined Amber Heard as a key witness for NGN.

    Depp’s lawyers sought seeking permission to appeal from Lord Justice Underhill, Vice President of the Court of Appeal, sitting with Lord Justice Dingemans.

    He claimed this evidence suggested Heard had lied about donating her £5 million (US$7 million) divorce settlement from Depp to a number of charities, including the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU).

    During a hearing on 18 March Mr Caldecott referred to Ms Heard’s statement that: "I don’t want to keep a dime of his money because of the way he treated me."

    He said that “implied revulsion” and he said if the judge accepted she had given away her entire divorce settlement it “tips the scales” and makes her appear to be a “virtuous person” and a “victim.”

    Mr Caldecott said there were witnesses whose evidence undermined her claim to have donated all of her divorce settlement to charities.

    ​But in his ruling on Thursday, 25 March, Lord Justice Underhill said: "We do not accept that there is any ground for believing that the Judge may have been influenced by any such general perception as Mr Caldecott relies on. In the first place, he does not refer to her charitable donation at all in the context of his central findings: on the contrary, he only mentions it in a very particular context, as explained above,
    and after he had already reached his conclusions in relation to the fourteen incidents."

    He went on to say: "It is clear from a reading of the judgment as a whole that the judge based his conclusions on each of the incidents on his extremely detailed review of the evidence specific to each incident...In an
    approach of that kind there was little need or room for the judge to give weight to any general assessment of Ms Heard’s credibility, which is notoriously a more difficult and uncertain basis for deciding on disputed facts."
    Mr Justice Underhill concluded: "It is pure speculation, and in our view very unlikely, that he gave any weight to general considerations about her character of the kind suggested by Mr Caldecott."

     

    Tags:
    UK Court of Appeal, libel, The Sun newspaper, Amber Heard, Johnny Depp
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