Johnny Depp loses battle to challenge 'wife beater' libel ruling over charges of assaulting ex-wife Amber Heard


Hollywood star Johnny Depp has lost the bid to overturn a British High Court ruling which had dismissed his libel claims against a British tabloid accusing the Pirates of the Caribbean star of being a 'wife beater' over charges of assaulting his (then) wife, actress Amber Heard.

Last year, the actor waged a three-week libel case against the publisher of The Sun newspaper over a 2018 article calling him a "wife beater." According to a report in, Depp claimed that Heard's allegations of domestic violence were "a choreographed hoax." However, Judge Andrew Nicol had found that Depp had been violent toward Heard on at least 12 occasions, and rejected Depp's case.

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On Thursday, the Court of Appeal refused permission to Depp to appeal against Nicol's ruling. The appeal judges, James Dingemans and Richard Arnold, stated: "The hearing before (Nicol) was full and fair, and he gave thorough reasons for his conclusions which have not been shown even arguably to be vitiated by any error of approach or mistake of law."

Depp sought permission to appeal the ruling, claiming the judge had failed to assess the evidence properly and calling for a full re-trial. The actor's legal team sought to introduce new evidence, which they claimed undermined Heard's credibility as a witness. Depp's lawyer, Andrew Caldecott, said Heard told a "calculated and manipulative lie" in a pledge to donate her $7 million divorce settlement to charity, alleging the money has not been paid.

"Had the truth about the charity claim emerged at the trial, it would have materially affected the judge's consideration of Ms. Heard's evidence as a whole," Caldecott said. Lawyers for News Group Newspapers, publisher of The Sun, said the evidence could have been submitted during the original trial, and would not have had an impact on the outcome of the case.