Regardless of the consequence of Monday’s verdict in his blockbuster libel case, the world has not heard the final of Johnny Depp’s tempestuous relationship with Amber Heard.
Certainly, its penalties will linger lengthy after the gossip columns have moved on, authorized consultants imagine.
The Pirates of the Caribbean star’s claim against the Sun newspaper over an article labelling him a “spouse beater” is merely a prelude to a much more substantial declare that Depp is bringing within the US the place he is suing Heard for $50m over a column she wrote.
“That is solely spherical one,” stated Mark Stephens, an knowledgeable in media legislation on the legislation agency Howard Kennedy.
“Whoever loses goes to attraction. There’s an excessive amount of on this for them to not, however do I believe the attraction will probably be profitable? No. That will probably be spherical two. Then there’s the [Depp] case towards the Washington Submit and Amber Heard, and he or she has counter-sued each Johnny Depp and his lawyer for accusing her of mendacity over the spousal abuse.”
“Win or lose, tomorrow’s judgment will probably be vastly vital,” stated Emily Cox, a accomplice and media knowledgeable at Stewarts legislation agency. “If Johnny Depp wins, he will probably be vindicated and the extra sordid facets of the proof at trial will possible be forgotten. If he loses, he’s unlikely ever to have the ability to shake off the ‘spouse beater’ label.”
“I believe it’s fairy uncontroversial to say that this was an ill-advised case,” Stephens says. “The one winners listed below are the legal professionals who’re going to be constructing extensions to their houses and placing their kids via personal training on the again of Johnny Depp.” Stephens believes that ‘the standard orthodoxy’ is that Depp, 57, will win. However a lot will hinge on whether or not the choose, Mr Justice Nicol, finds the star a reputable witness. “I wonder if the choose goes to say ‘I believe each events tried to do the very best they may however I couldn’t depend on Mr Depp’s recollection as a result of he was clearly taking medicine and alcohol in industrial portions and his recollection, nevertheless trustworthy, was in my judgement mistaken and as a consequence of that I discover for her’,” Stephens stated.
The US case just isn’t scheduled to be heard till Could when Depp and Heard, 34, are each as a consequence of be filming new tasks. Depp will star within the subsequent instalment of the JK Rowling franchise Incredible Beasts whereas Heard is showing in Justice League.
So regardless of the verdict, the spectre of one other exhausting and probably damaging lawsuit will probably be hanging over each events for months to come back.
Cox stated that Depp’s declare within the US is riskier and better stakes. “Whereas an English judgment in favour of Depp could be good proof for the court docket in Virginia, private lives and reputations will probably be unpicked afresh, as London is perceived as notoriously claimant-friendly. Defamation legal guidelines within the US favour First Modification free speech, with the burden of proof on Depp this time round. Throw into the combination a jury trial within the US, and all of it turns into extra of a sport of Russian roulette.”
For the UK trial, Depp spent round 20 hours within the witness field over 5 days, dealing with questioning about his Hollywood life-style, his use of drink and medicines, allegations of violence, and his friendships with well-known faces together with Keith Richards and Sir Elton John.
Certainly one of Depp’s associates, Helena Bonham Carter, who has labored with him on a number of movies, spoke out in his defence. “There’s one thing fairly old style about Johnny, with these manners – none of it is sensible,” the actor told the Guardian. “The person’s not silly. He wouldn’t have gone to this size if he thought he was within the mistaken.”
Certainly, in his closing arguments, the actor’s barrister, David Sherborne, stated Depp’s case was about vindication.
“What’s vital to Mr Depp is clearing his title of those appalling allegations, expanded on because it has been over the past 4 years, on account of which he has misplaced nothing lower than every part, he would say.”
Sasha Wass QC, for Information Group Newspapers, argued that there was “little question that Mr Depp recurrently and systematically abused his spouse. The characterisation that he’s a wife-beater is fully truthful.”
“Win or lose, this case goes to have a critical and chilling impact on the reporting of allegations of abuse,” Stephens stated. “However that is significantly true if Depp wins. Maybe ladies will probably be extra cautious about coming ahead and making these type of allegations.”
Depp can anticipate to obtain between £180,000 to £200,000 in damages if he wins, a fraction of the estimated £5m he has racked up in authorized prices.