Johnny Depp may have faced defeat in the libel trial, but that did not stop him. The actor kept his cool and kept going. And now lawyers of the actor said that he did not receive a fair trial and the high court ruling that stated he assaulted his ex-wife Amber Heard and put her in fear for her life is “plainly wrong”.
The 57-year-old sued the Sun over a column by its executive editor, Dan Wootton, which referred to “overwhelming evidence” that he had attacked Heard, during their relationship and described him as a “wife-beater”.
According to reports in The Guardian, last month, Mr Justice Nicol dismissed Johnny Depp’s claim in the initial ruling, saying the paper’s owner, News Group Newspapers, had proved what was in the article to be “substantially true”.
Dismissing Johnny Depp’s libel case, Nicol found that 12 of the 14 alleged incidents of domestic violence relied on by NGN did occur. The judge said Depp put Amber Heard “in fear of her life” during what she described as a “three-day hostage situation” in Australia in March 2015.
Depp’s barrister, David Sherborne, has asked the appeal court to “set aside the judgment and order a new trial” if permission to appeal against Nicol’s judgment is given. In documents filed with the appeal court on Thursday, Depp’s lawyers claimed Nicol’s ruling was “manifestly unsafe”.
Johnny Depp’s legal team claim Nicol “failed to undertake any, or an adequate analysis, of Ms Heard’s shifting account, despite the importance of consistency as a consideration of a witness’s testimony”.
Sherborne said Nicol “concluded that the appellant was guilty of serious physical assaults without taking account of or even acknowledging that Ms Heard had been untruthful in her evidence, without testing her account against the documentary evidence and the evidence of other witnesses, and without making any findings that he disbelieved those witnesses”. Sherborne added: “His uncritical acceptance of her account of events is manifestly unsafe.”
The barrister also argued: “The conclusion which flows from an overall assessment of the judgment is that (Mr Justice Nicol) decided to find for the ‘victim’ but failed to provide the necessary analysis to explain or justify that conclusion. Also, he excluded relevant evidence from his consideration, ignored or dismissed as irrelevant matters that substantially undermined Ms Heard, made findings unsupported by the evidence, and failed to assess whether her allegations could withstand proper scrutiny. The judge failed to properly assess her credibility by reference to documentary evidence, photographs, recordings or otherwise.”
Johnny Depp’s lawyer Sherborne concluded: “This was a very public judgment, reached by a single judge, making devastating findings of extremely serious criminal offences having been committed, and where this has had wide-ranging implications for the public at large, particularly victims, or those wrongly accused, of alleged domestic abuse.”
He added that it was therefore important in such circumstances that there was an effective appeal process. Now if this happens, the entire game will change. What do you THINK? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.