LONDON — Johnny Depp on Monday misplaced his courtroom case towards a British newspaper that known as him a “spouse beater” and claimed there was “overwhelming proof” that he had assaulted the actress Amber Heard repeatedly throughout their marriage.
Mr. Depp’s assaults included head-butting Ms. Heard, repeatedly hitting her and tearing out clumps of her hair, wrote Andrew Nicol, the British decide who heard the case, in a ruling issued online on Monday. In dismissing the case, he mentioned the defendants had proven that what they printed was “considerably true.”
The assaults “should have been terrifying,” the decide wrote relating to incidents in March 2015 in Australia, through which Ms. Heard mentioned that Mr. Depp assaulted her a number of instances, together with smashing a phone beside her face. “I settle for that Mr. Depp put her in worry of her life,” the decide wrote.
The decide additionally acknowledged the danger Ms. Heard had taken in talking up in regards to the violence. “I additionally settle for that Ms. Heard’s allegations have had a destructive impact on her profession as an actor and activist,” he mentioned.
Girls’s rights teams and legal professionals in British praised the choice. “This is a crucial ruling and one which we hope sends a really highly effective message: Each single survivor of home abuse must be listened to and must be heard,” Lisa King, a spokeswoman for Refuge, a British charity for survivors of home violence, mentioned in a press release.
When the case was heard in July, it usually appeared as if it had been occurring solely to generate lurid newspaper headlines and movie-world gossip. Numerous unsavory particulars of Mr. Depp and Ms. Heard’s marriage had been aired.
But it surely was really a libel case through which Mr. Depp, 57, was suing Information Group Newspapers, the publishers of The Solar, a British tabloid newspaper, and Dan Wootton, that newspaper’s government editor, over a 2018 article that mentioned there was “overwhelming proof” that Mr. Depp had assaulted Ms. Heard.
The article known as Mr. Depp a “spouse beater” and urged the writer J.Okay. Rowling to intervene and have Mr. Depp faraway from the “Implausible Beasts and The place to Discover Them” film sequence, primarily based on her ebook.
The newspaper’s authorized group argued that the accusations within the article had been “correct and true.” Ms. Heard, 34, testified on the newspaper’s behalf and mentioned in pretrial paperwork that Mr. Depp had assaulted her on 14 events throughout their relationship beginning earlier than they had been married. Mr. Depp denied all the claims, however the decide discovered that almost all of them did happen, citing a variety of textual content messages from Mr. Depp among the many proof.
Mr. Depp can be suing Ms. Heard for defamation in the US over an opinion article that she wrote for The Washington Put up beneath the headline “I spoke up towards sexual violence — and confronted our tradition’s wrath. That has to vary.” Mr. Depp says the article led to his being dropped from the “Pirates of the Caribbean” film franchise.
It was not instantly clear whether or not the British decide’s ruling would have any implications for that case. Mr. Depp’s lawyer didn’t reply to a request for remark.
The pair met in 2011 whereas making “The Rum Diary,” a film primarily based on the ebook by Hunter S. Thompson, and married in February 2015. Ms. Heard filed for divorce simply over a 12 months later. She additionally obtained a short lived restraining order towards the actor after accusing him of hitting her.
Ms. Heard later withdrew the declare, and in January 2017 the pair agreed to a $7 million divorce settlement. “There was by no means any intent of bodily or emotional hurt,” they mentioned in a press release on the time.
Through the case, Ms. Heard mentioned that the primary time Mr. Depp assaulted her was in 2013, earlier than their marriage. On that event, she mentioned, he hit her 3 times after a dialogue about one among his tattoos. The tattoo initially learn “Winona eternally,” in reference to Winona Ryder, Mr. Depp’s former associate, however he had it modified to learn “Wino eternally.”
“It felt like my eye popped out,” Ms. Heard said of the third strike, saying that it knocked her off steadiness and to the ground.
Sasha Wass, a lawyer representing the newspaper, told the court in her closing argument that Mr. Depp’s violence had come about due to a dislike of Ms. Heard’s independence, in addition to his alcohol and drug use. Ms. Wass mentioned that Mr. Depp had used so many substances that “he could not even have been conscious of the extent of his violence and terrifying conduct.”
The decide agreed with most of that characterization, repeatedly highlighting Mr. Depp’s jealousy at potential love rivals and his drug use that impaired his reminiscence.
Through the hearings, Mr. Depp’s group claimed that Ms. Heard was really the abuser, scary arguments and, in a single case in an argument in Australia, throwing a vodka bottle at him, severing his fingertip. Ms. Heard testified that Mr. Depp had severed his personal fingertip within the argument whereas smashing a telephone subsequent to her head.
In his ruling, the decide devoted 17 pages to that combat. He famous that Mr. Depp had admitted that after sustaining the harm, he painted graffiti together with his personal blood on the partitions of a home the couple was renting. “It’s a signal of the depth of his rage,” the decide wrote.
“What precisely induced the harm is unsure,” he mentioned, however added, “it could be that Mr. Depp unintentionally minimize his finger on a chunk of damaged glass.”
Mr. Depp’s group additionally portrayed the accusations as a hoax that Ms. Heard had constructed as an insurance coverage coverage in case the wedding broke down. “She was, based on this situation, nothing greater than a gold-digger,” Justice Nicol wrote in his ruling. “I don’t settle for this characterization of Ms. Heard,” he added, declaring she had given her $7 million divorce settlement to charity.
“Her donation is hardly the act one would anticipate of a gold-digger,” the decide mentioned.
Harriet Wistrich, the director of the Center for Women’s Justice, a British group, mentioned in an e-mail that she was “very relieved that the decide has rejected a few of the widespread tropes used to undermine victims of home violence, corresponding to ‘She was motivated to stick with him for the cash’ or ‘If he was violent, why didn’t she go away?’”
“We hope the end result of this case will function a warning to rich males who search to make use of the courts to silence girls who converse out about abuse,” Ms. Wistrich added.
Ms. Heard acknowledged having as soon as hit Mr. Depp, however advised the courtroom that she had been making an attempt to guard her sister, whom she thought the actor was about to push down some stairs. “I’ll always remember it, as a result of it was the primary time in any case these years that I really struck him again,” Ms. Heard mentioned.
After the ruling was issued on Monday, The Solar mentioned in a press release, “Home abuse victims must not ever be silenced, and we thank the decide for his cautious consideration and thank Amber Heard for her braveness in giving proof to the courtroom.”
Jennifer Robinson, a lawyer for Ms. Heard, mentioned the actress was “unable to touch upon the case because of the ongoing U.S. proceedings.” However Elaine Charlson Bredehoft, Ms. Heard’s American lawyer, mentioned in a press release that the judgment was “not a shock.”
“We’re dedicated to acquiring justice for Amber Heard within the U.S. Courtroom and defending Ms. Heard’s proper to free speech,” Ms. Bredehoft mentioned.