Johnny Depp wants a do-over of his libel claim against a British tabloid that described him as a “wife beater” during his marriage to ex-wife Amber Heard.
According to a report in the Daily Mail, lawyers for the “Pirates of the Caribbean” star have asked the Court of Appeal to order a retrial in his libel claim against The Sun after the judge in the case determined the tabloid’s claim to be “substantially true.”
In legal documents obtained by the Mail, Depp claims that he “did not receive a fair trial” and insists the judge’s ruling is both “plainly wrong” and “manifestly unsafe.”
Depp’s barrister, David Sherborne, is requesting that the Court of Appeal “set aside the judgment and order a new trial,” contending that the judge “failed to examine the evidence and the arguments with the care that the parties were entitled to expect and which a proper resolution of the issues demanded.”
According to Sherborne, the judge’s determinations were “bare assertions without any real explanation for how he reached these serious findings in the face of conflicting accounts of events.”
The barrister also argued the judge “uncritically accepted at the outset that Ms. Heard must have been correct in her allegations” and “discounted evidence to the contrary.” Sherborne also alleges that the judge “failed to undertake any, or an adequate analysis, of Ms. Heard’s shifting account, despite the importance of consistency as a consideration of a witness’s testimony. He just accepted everything Ms. Heard said, however implausible and however inconsistent with the documents.”
As a result, Sherborne claims that the judge “concluded that the appellant was guilty of serious physical assaults without taking account of or even acknowledging that Ms Heard had been untruthful in her evidence, without testing her account against the documentary evidence and the evidence of other witnesses and without making any findings that he disbelieved those witnesses.”
Sherborne also alleges that the judge “excluded relevant evidence from his consideration, ignored or dismissed as irrelevant matters that substantially undermined Ms. Heard, made findings unsupported by the evidence and failed to assess whether her allegations could withstand proper scrutiny,” and also “failed to properly assess her credibility by reference to documentary evidence, photographs, recordings or otherwise.”
Sherborne warned that the ruling as it stands will have “wider-ranging implications for the public at large, particularly victims, or those wrongly accused, of alleged domestic abuse.”
It remains to be seen whether Depp’s request for a retrial will be granted; earlier this month, he filed a motion to appeal that was subsequently denied.