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Johnny Depp loses libel case against British tabloid The Sun which labelled star a 'wife beater'

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Johnny Depp was suing The Sun for an article that called the star a 'wife beater'
Johnny Depp was suing The Sun for an article that called the star a 'wife beater'   -   Copyright  Alastair Grant/AP
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Johnny Depp has lost his libel claim against a British newspaper which called him a "wife beater" in relation to allegations made during the star's marriage to actress Amber Heard.

The court, on Monday, found that while Depp had satisfied the necessary elements to bring a libel claim, The Sun newspaper had proven its words were "substantially true".

This means the court found that Depp had been violent towards his ex-wife on at least one occasion.

Handing down the ruling, Justice Nicol said: "Although he has proved the necessary elements of his action in libel, the defendants have shown that what they published in the meaning which I have held the words to bear was substantially true.

"I have reached these conclusions having examined in detail the 14 incidents on which the defendants rely, as well as the over-arching considerations which the claimant submitted I should take into account."

Alberto Pezzali/AP
Amber Heard will face Johnny Depp again for another libel case in the USAlberto Pezzali/AP

Over the course of the three-week trial earlier this year, the court heard a number of allegations of violence from both sides of the couple's marriage.

Heard maintained that any contact was through self-defence, while Depp repeatedly denied ever being violent towards his ex-wife.

Nicol said he found the "great majority" of the allegations by Heard against her former husband had been "proved to the civil standard".

He added there had been a "recurring theme in Mr Depp's evidence" that Heard had "constructed a hoax and that she had done this as an insurance policy".

"I do not accept this characterisation of Ms Heard," Nicol said.

The Sun in a statement said it had "stood up and campaigned for the victims of domestic abuse for over 20 years".

"Domestic abuse victims must never be silenced and we thank the judge for his careful consideration and thank Amber Heard for her courage in giving evidence to the court."

Heard's lawyer Elaine Charlson Bredehoft also released a statement, saying more evidence would be given during another libel case in the US over an opinion piece published in the Washington Post.

She 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.

"We are committed to obtaining justice for Amber Heard in the US court and defending Ms Heard's right to free speech."