On Thursday, two Court of Appeal judges in London said the Pirates of the Caribbean actor, 57, cannot challenge the November ruling in the case he lost against News Group Newspapers (NGN), owner of The Sun, over a 2018 article the tabloid published calling him a "wife beater." Depp has denied he abused Heard, whom he divorced in 2017.
The judges, James Dingemans and Nicholas Underhill, said the three-week trial last July, under Judge Andrew Nicol, found it to be “substantially true" Depp had been violent toward Heard on at least 12 occasions. They said the trial was “full and fair” and Nichols was not proven to have made "any error of approach or mistake of law.” As a result, Depp has “no real prospect" of success in a new trial and "there is no other compelling reason for it to be heard.”
In a statement to Yahoo Entertainment, Heard's spokesperson says, "We are pleased — but by no means surprised — by the Court's denial of Mr. Depp’s application for appeal. The evidence presented in the UK case was overwhelming and undeniable. To reiterate, the original verdict was that Mr. Depp committed domestic violence against Amber on no fewer than 12 occasions and she was left in fear of her life. The verdict and lengthy, well-reasoned Judgment, including the Confidential Judgment, have been affirmed. Mr. Depp's claim of new and important evidence was nothing more than a press strategy, and has been soundly rejected by the Court."
In a court hearing last week, Depp's lawyers argued that Depp didn't have a fair trial and said Heard was an unreliable witness. To make their case, they pointed to how she hadn't donate her $7 million divorce settlement to charity, as she said she would do, calling it was a “calculated and manipulative lie” on her part.
The appeals judges said the original verdict wasn't based on Heard donating or not donating the money. “It is clear from a reading of the judgment as a whole that [Nicol] based his conclusions on each of the incidents on his extremely detailed review of the evidence specific to each incident,” the appeal ruling said.
Heard has said she's "been delayed" in her goal of donating the money because Depp filed a lawsuit against her in Virginia — for defamation over her Washington Post op-ed about domestic violence — seeking $50 million, so instead she's "been forced to spend millions of dollars defending [his] false accusations against her."
During the trial, Heard testified about 14 alleged instances of abuse between 2013 and 2016, including a "three-day hostage" situation in Australia. Depp's called her claims "a choreographed hoax" in his defense. Nicol found that Depp had been violent toward Heard on at least 12 occasions, leading to Depp losing the case.
Depp exited his role in the film Fantastic Beasts since losing the "wife beater" ruling last year. However, he was still paid $10 million.
Depp's U.S. lawsuit against Heard was recently postponed to April 2022.
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