In late March 2021 Johnny Depp was refused permission to appeal against the decision of Mr Justice Nicol ruling that he assaulted his ex-wife Amber Heard, lending credence to The Sun’s defamatory comment accusing the US actor labelling him a “wife beater”
Intelligence UK International S.A was commissioned to complete an independent review into the conduct of the judiciary in Johnny Depp’s legal case against The Sun’s owners, News Group Newspapers Ltd. On this page you will find all the case detail, transcripts from the 16-day libel trial in the High Court of Justice and the decisions of both the High Court and the Court of Appeal.
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THE HIGH COURT TRIAL BEFORE MR JUSTICE NICOL
It is our view that the UK courts have denied Johny Depp the right to a fair and unbiased trial. Over the coming weeks we report on our findings. Be sure to stay tuned by signing up for our once-weekly newsletter updates.
Transcripts of the full trial
Simply click on the links to download or read in browser:
- Day 1 of the trial on 7th July 2020
- Day 2 of the trial on 8th July 2020
- Day 3 of the trial on 9th July 2020
- Day 4 of the trial on 10th July 2020
- Day 5 of the trial on 13th July 2020
- Day 6 of the trial on 14th July 2020
- Day 7 of the trial on 15th July 2020
- Day 8 of the trial on 15th July 2020
- Day 9 of the trial on 17th July 2020
- Day 10 of the trial on 20th July 2020
- Day 11 of the trial on 21st July 2020
- Day 12 of the trial on 22nd July 2020
- Day 13 of the trial on 23rd July 2020
- Day 14 of the trial on 24th July 2020
- Day 15 of the trial on 25th July 2020
- Final day 16 of the trial on 26th July 2020
Excerpts and the judgment of Mr Justice Nicol
Intelligence UK summary of the Nicol J judgment and excerpts
Mr Justice Nicol dismissed Mr Depp’s claim, citing that News Group Newspapers Ltd statement in The Sun describing the actor as a “wife beater” was “substantially true”. Dismissing JD’s libel case, Nicol J found that 12 of the 14 alleged incidents of domestic violence did occur.
The legal position:
A libel / defamation claim becomes a tort resulting an an action for damages where it has caused, or is likely to cause, serious harm to the Claimant’s reputation (See: section 1 of the Defamation Act 2013). The burden of proof to demonstrate serious harm resulting in damages lays with the Claimant and the statement must be substantially untrue.
The Defendant relied on the statutory defence of s.2 of the Defamation Act 2013, requiring them to prove, on the balance of probabilities that the statements conveyed in the article were “substantially true”. If that burden of the defence can be reached, the Defendant has a complete defence to the libel action.
Nicol J recognised Mr Depp’s claim has a reasonable prospect of success and that he had proven the essential ingredients in relation to serious harm, however, the alleged success of the truth defence was found to have constituted a complete defence.
In summary, we refer to the 585 paragraph, 129-page judgment of Monday 2nd November 2020.