Johnny Depp, 57, has been given the go-ahead to sue the tabloid’s publisher, News Group Newspapers (NGN), and it’s executive editor Dan Wootton over an April 2018 article which referred to Mr Depp as a ‘wife-beater’.
THE article related to allegations made against Mr Depp by actress Ms Heard, 34, that he was violent towards her during their marriage – claims he has strenuously denied.
In a last-ditch attempt to stall or completely throw out the High Court trial, due to start next Tuesday, NGN’s legal team had asked Mr Justice Nicol to strike out Mr Depp’s claim.
Adam Wolanski QC argued the Hollywood star was in “serious” breach of a court order because he had not given NGN’s legal team what he referred to as the “Australia drugs texts” between Mr Depp and his assistant, Nathan Holmes.
Mr Justice Nicol had earlier this week found that Mr Depp had apparently breached an “unless order” requiring him to disclose documents from separate libel proceedings against Ms Heard in the US – which include the text messages, but, in a ruling on Thursday, the judge said he would grant Depp’s application for ‘relief from sanctions,’ meaning the trial will go ahead as planned.
The judge said his decision was conditional on Depp giving an undertaking that he will not seek sanctions against Heard for allegedly breaching a court order, made during separate libel proceedings in the US, by providing the Sun’s legal team with evidence.
Last week NGN’s legal team argued that Mr Depp’s text messages, sent in late February and early March 2015, demonstrated he was trying to get hold of drugs while staying in Australia with Ms Heard, during which time an incident of domestic abuse is alleged to have occurred.