Johnny Depp loses appeal bid

The Court of Appeal (Lord Justice Underhill and Lord Justice Dingemans) has today refused permission to Johnny Depp to appeal against the dismissal of his claim for libel against News Group Newspapers and Dan Wootton, one of its journalists.

The claim arose out of a story in The Sun alleging that he had beaten his former wife, Amber Heard. After a three week trial in the High Court last year, in which both Mr Depp and Ms Heard gave evidence, Mr Justice Nicol found that the allegation was true.

The Court of Appeal found none of the criticisms of the Judge’s reasoning or conclusion advanced on behalf of Mr Depp had a real prospect of success. It said “The hearing before Nicol J 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.”

The Court of Appeal rejected Mr Depp’s application to rely on further evidence showing that Ms Heard has not yet given away most of the $7m, received in her divorce settlement from Mr Depp, which she had said that she was donating to charity. It noted that that was not a question which was raised with her by Mr Depp’s lawyers at the trial and that there was no reason to believe that the Judge’s decision was influenced by what she had said about the donations.

A full case report will follow shortly.

Johnny Depp was represented by Andrew Caldecott QC, David Sherborne and Kate Wilson of 5RB.

NGN and Dan Wootton were represented by Adam Wolanski QC and Clara Hamer of 5RB, and Sasha Wass QC of 6KBW.