LONDON (AP) – A British Supreme Court judge Monday ruled that actor Johnny Depp violated a court order by failing to disclose evidence regarding his drug use to lawyers for British tabloid The Sun, who are suing for libel.
Judge Andrew Nicol postponed a decision on whether or not to dismiss Depp’s claim against The Sun. He said he would rule as soon as possible.
Depp is suing newspaper publisher, News Group Newspapers, and Executive Editor Dan Wootton for a 2018 article claiming the actor was violent and insulting to his ex-wife, Amber Heard.
Depp firmly denies being violent and the emotionally charged case has attracted celebrities, including Depp’s ex-partners Vanessa Paradis and Winona Ryder and Heard’s former lover Elon Musk.
The lawsuit will be opened on July 7 at the High Court in London. But The Sun lawyers argue that the case should be dismissed because Depp did not publish text messages that he had exchanged with an assistant, showing that he was trying to buy “MDMA and other narcotics.” while in Australia with Heard in 2015.
The newspaper’s lawyer, Adam Wolanski, said the withholding of the lyrics violates a previous court order that obliges Depp to provide all documents from separate libel proceedings against Heard in the United States. He said that the decline compromised the defendants’ ability to go to trial.
Judge Nicol ruled on Monday that Depp had breached the disclosure order and found that “Australian drug laws were harmful to the plaintiff’s case and / or supported the case brought by the suspects.”
He did not immediately throw the case away, allowing Depp’s attorneys to argue why the trial should go ahead.
Depp’s lawyer, David Sherborne, said it would be “completely disproportionate” to set aside the case.
“The central issue at issue in this proceeding is whether or not the plaintiff committed multiple acts of serious, unprovoked physical violence during his relationship with Amber Heard, causing her significant injuries and fear of her life. “, he said. “It is now time for the defendants to prove what they published.”
Wolanski last week read in court passages of Heard’s evidence claiming that she had been subjected by Depp to “a three-day ordeal of physical attacks” while taking and heavily drinking MDMA, also known as ecstasy.
Depp, 57, and Heard, 34, met on the set of the 2011 comedy “The Rum Diary” and were married in Los Angeles in February 2015. They divorced in 2017.
Each accuses the other of abuse, and Depp also sues Heard for defamation in the United States.
Sherborne told the High Court on Monday that Heard’s claims were undermined by the fact that she had dealt with Space X founder Musk and actor James Franco while involved with Depp.
“Given that her case is that she was checked and abused by the plaintiff and that it was impossible for her to leave him, it is not at all the fact that she had several cases,” said the lawyer.
Depp and Heard are expected to testify in person during the London trial, which was postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The social distance test lasts three weeks. Witnesses are likely Depp’s ex-partners Paradis and Ryder, both of whom have made statements in support of the star “Pirates of the Caribbean”.
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