- Judgment handed down in the ‘libel trial of the century’ (Depp v NGN)
- What are the practical implications of this case?
- What was the background?
- What did the court decide?
- Good character
- Case details
TMT analysis: Well-known actor Johnny Depp (Mr Depp) brought a libel claim against the defendant publishers in relation to articles published by them across two days in April 2018, entitled ‘How can JK Rowling be “genuinely happy” casting wife beater Johnny Depp in the new Fantastic Beasts film?’ (and similar). The court found that the articles contained the meaning as contended by the defendants, namely that Mr Depp beat his wife, actress Amber Heard (Ms Heard), causing her to suffer significant injury and on occasion leading to her fearing for her life. Mr Justice Nicol analysed 14 alleged incidents of violence by Mr Depp and found 12 to be proved substantially true. On three such incidents, Ms Heard had feared for her life. Accordingly, the defendants had made good their truth defence under section 2 of the Defamation Act 2013 (DA 2013) and Mr Depp’s claim was dismissed. Written by Lily Walker-Parr, barrister at 5RB.
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