In England, libel law shifts the burden of proof to the defendant, forcing them to prove whatever claim they put in print. This means that English courts have long been the venue of choice for powerful foreigners who wish to silence or punish critics by burdening them with the costs and difficulties of mounting a legal defense these. The upside for plaintiffs is how likely it is to prevail. The downside, though, is that forcing the defense to prove the disputed claim might result in them doing exactly that. This is what happened to actor Johnny Depp, who lost a spectacular libel claim in London against a newspaper that named him a “wife beater”, and has now had his appeal against that verdict turned away.
The Hollywood star’s libel claim was dismissed by Mr Justice Nicol, who found The Sun’s accusation to be “substantially true” and ruled in the publisher’s favour. The judge found Mr Depp, 57, had assaulted Ms Heard, 34, on a dozen occasions and put her in “fear for her life” three times. … On Thursday, the court refused permission for Mr Depp to appeal. Speaking at the Royal Courts of Justice in London, Lord Justice Underhill said: “We refuse Mr Depp’s application to admit further evidence in support of his proposed appeal and we conclude that the appeal has no real prospect of success and that there is no other compelling reason for it to be heard.
A key thing to understand is that it doesn’t matter what she allegedly did to him, because the lawsuit was brought by Depp concerning things he allegedly did to her.