Johnny Depp applies to Court of Appeal after 'wife beater' ruling
Johnny Depp has applied to the Court of Appeal seeking to overturn a High Court ruling that he assaulted his ex-wife Amber Heard and made her fear for her life.
In November, a High Court judge rejected Depp’s claim that a newspaper had committed libel when a 2018 article called him a “wife-beater”.
The 57-year-old took legal action against News Group Newspapers (NGN) over the column in The Sun, which referred to “overwhelming evidence” he attacked his 34-year-old ex-wife several times during their relationship.
Judge Andrew Nicol found the article in The Sun was “substantially true”.
The same judge refused Depp permission to appeal later the same month, ruling: “I do not consider that the proposed grounds of appeal have a reasonable prospect of success.”
The judge also ordered the actor to make an initial payment to NGN of almost £630,000 for the publisher’s legal fees.
But Mr Justice Nicol said Depp could apply directly to the Court of Appeal to overturn his judgment before 7 December.
The Hollywood star has done that, according to a public list of pending applications.
It is unclear what Mr Depp’s grounds of appeal are, or when a decision is likely to be made.
In his judgment, Mr Justice Nicol concluded that 12 of the 14 alleged incidents of domestic violence relied on by NGN did occur.
The judge found that Mr Depp assaulted Ms Heard on a dozen occasions and put her in “fear for her life” on three occasions, including one the actress described as a “three-day hostage situation” in Australia in March 2015.
Mr Justice Nicol found Ms Heard was equally afraid during incidents on the Eastern and Oriental Express in South East Asia in August 2015 and again in LA in December that year.
The judge said he “did not accept” the “recurring theme in Mr Depp’s evidence… that Ms Heard had constructed a hoax and that she had done this as an ‘insurance policy'”.
Mr Depp announced just days after the ruling that he was asked by Warner Brothers to resign from his role in the Harry Potter spin-off franchise Fantastic Beasts.
In a statement, he said: “The surreal judgment of the court in the UK will not change my fight to tell the truth and I confirm that I plan to appeal.”
His solicitor, Jenny Afia, had said the High Court ruling was “as perverse as it is bewildering”, adding: “The judgment is so flawed that it would be ridiculous for Mr Depp not to appeal this decision.”
But Ms Heard’s US lawyer, Elaine Charlson Bredehoft, said: “For those of us present for the London High Court trial, this decision and judgment are not a surprise.
“Very soon, we will be presenting even more voluminous evidence in the US.”
Mr Depp is embroiled in a separate libel battle in the US, having sued Ms Heard personally over a 2018 Washington Post opinion piece in which she wrote of the domestic abuse she suffered.