A judge has refused Johnny Depp permission to appeal a court’s ruling that he assaulted ex-wife Amber Heard.
Earlier this month a High Court judge rejected the Hollywood star’s claim that a newspaper had committed libel when it called him a “wife-beater.” Judge Andrew Nicol said the article in The Sun was “substantially true”.
Depp was seeking to overturn the judgment. But in a setback for the Pirates of the Caribbean star, Nicol denied permission to appeal, saying “I do not consider that the proposed grounds of appeal have a reasonable prospect of success.”
In a ruling made public on Wednesday, the judge also ordered Depp to make an initial payment of almost £630,000 to News Group Newspapers, publisher of The Sun, to cover its legal fees.
Depp can still apply above Judge Nicol, directly to the Court of Appeal, and has until 7 December to do so.
The judge’s main ruling came after a three-week trial in which Depp and Heard gave conflicting accounts of their brief, tempestuous marriage.
In the wake of the decision, Depp said he was leaving the “Fantastic Beasts” film franchise after studio Warner Bros. requested his resignation.
His solicitor Jenny Afia, from Schillings, had said the High Court ruling was “as perverse as it is bewildering”, adding: “The judgment is so flawed that it would be ridiculous for Mr Depp not to appeal this decision.”
But Ms Heard’s US lawyer, Elaine Charlson Bredehoft, said: “For those of us present for the London High Court trial, this decision and judgment are not a surprise.
“Very soon, we will be presenting even more voluminous evidence in the US.”
Mr Depp is currently embroiled in a separate $50 million libel battle in the US, having sued Ms Heard personally over a 2018 Washington Post opinion piece in which she claimed to be a victim of domestic abuse.
That case is due to be heard in Virginia, where the Washington Post is published, some time next year.