Welcome to our as-it-happened coverage of day 15 of Johnny Depp’s libel case against the publishers of The Sun.
- Catch up on the penultimate day of Johnny Depp’s libel action against NGN, the publishers of The SunNGN’s barristers made their final submissions and speeches – Depp’s team get their chance on TuesdayDepp is suing NGN over an article labelling him a “wife beater”; their case relies on 14 allegations of violence made by his ex-wife, Amber HeardThe trial finishes on Tuesday but the judge’s ruling is expected at a later dateCoverage from entertainment reporter @Bethanyminelle at court, with additional reporting from @gemmapeplowPosts may contain graphic or explicit language, or include images of injury and drug use
See you tomorrow
So that’s it from us on day 15 – you can read our full report on today’s proceedings here.
NGN’s team gave their final submissions and speeches; Depp’s team will get their chance tomorrow, when the actor will be back in court after missing the hearing today.
We’ll be back here at 10am for the final day of the trial tomorrow.
Have a good evening and see you then.
Pictures: Amber Heard leaves court for the day
Tomorrow is the final day of the case, with Depp’s lawyer, David Sherborne due to give his final arguments on behalf of the actor.
With that, court is over for the day.
Heard should be leaving soon, and we’ll post photos as soon as she does.
And of course Depp didn’t come along today, so disappointment for any fans hoping to catch a glimpse of him coming out.
I suspect there will be more than one person heading home with a bunch of undelivered flowers or small potted fern…
‘A clash of generations and a clash of cultures’
Ms Wass says Depp had: “Aspiration to be the Southern gentleman with the beautiful younger wife.”
She says Depp “mourned his hero Hunter S Thompson” by spending an estimated $3m on sending the author’s ashes into space.
She says he glamorised drug use, and this fact was backed up by Doctor Kipper.
She went on to say that “Mr Depp has spent his entire adult life doing exactly what he wanted and he was not about to answer to a woman at this stage in his life.”
Ms Wass said Depp had “spent his life surrounded by a clique of ageing, male rabble-rousers with alcohol and drugs shared together.”
She said “there was a clash of cultures and clash of generations” when Depp and Heard got together.
She went on: “Ms Heard was a modern and ambitious woman. It was not in her nature to wait until he got home so she could take his boots off and the self-scripted Southern gentleman required a supplicant wife.
“When Mr Depp chose Ms Heard as his life partner, he did not expect her to carry on acting in films with young and attractive actors.
“Mr Depp was unable to control Ms Heard and… it had a detrimental effect on his state of mind. It may have literally driven him back to the drink and drugs which he knew would unleash ‘the monster’.
“Having heard all the evidence in this case and all the supporting evidence of the incidents of violence, we suggest that there is no doubt that Mr Depp regularly and systematically abused his wife.
“The characterisation that he is a wife beater is entirely truthful.” Of course this is the nub of the libel case being brought against Depp by The Sun’s publishers News Group News (NGN), and the description they need to prove true on balance of probability in order to win the case.
‘The full brute force of the Depp PR machine’
Ms Wass says she has made mention of “The full brute force of the Depp PR machine”. She says Depp personally attempted to damage Heard’s career.
She says Depp sent a text which read: “I want her replaced on the WB film.” She says that referred to the Warner Brothers film Aquaman.
Ms Wass also says Depp’s team was behind a petition to get Heard biffed from the role.
The slight delay now in court was due to the judge asking to see the CAD report, and reading it.
This has now been done.
Damage or no damage?
Ms Wass is talking about the police visit on this night, when officer officer Melissa Saenz described Heard’s face as “red and swollen, as if she’d been crying” but noted no injury on her face.
The two attending officers said they saw no damage at the apartment during their visit.
This is contradictory to evidence from Josh Drew, a neighbour, who told the court last week that he showed the officers various bit of damage he said were caused by Depp that evening.
Ms Wass says the police did not follow the correct procedure, and did not file a report on that night.
There is a little debate now over the automatic report filed at the time of the event, a CAD (which stands for ‘computer aided dispatch’) and is automatically created when officers attend a call. This dispatch ends by saying the case is closed.
Ms Wass says the police “exaggerated the length of their stay in the flat” due to the fact they had been “negligent in a case of domestic violence”.
They were later subpoenaed to give evidence in court.
The court is reminded of this CCTV footage of Depp in a cowboy hat leaving the apartment block on that night.
In it, it’s noted that he appeared “agitated”.
Heard claims Depp created damage on leaving the apartment that evening on 21 May 2016, including throwing wine in the communal hallway and breaking a sconce (a light fitting).
Depp inadvertently left a mobile phone in the flat that evening, Ms Wass says it’s not clear if it was the phone thrown at Heard.
Another person blamed at one point in the case for defecating in the bed was Heard’s friend iO Tillet Wright.
There was a later argument on this subject, when Heard was on the phone to Tillet Wright, when Heard alleges a mobile phone was hurled by Depp into her face.
To be clear, Tillet Wright was not in the flat at the time, but on the other end of the line in New York. He called 911, with officers later attending the penthouse to investigate.
No charges were brought, and no report was made following their visit.
And while he’s at it, the judge also lets the court know he doesn’t expect to be called on to deduce who was responsible for “vomiting in a car park at Coachella”.
So far the court has been told variously this was Heard (due to illness and over consumption of drink and drugs) and also her younger sister Whitney (who was pregnant at the time and was not drinking or taking drugs).
Alas it seems we may never reveal the true identity of the vomiter or defecator responsible for either incident.
The judge sounds a little weary of the excrement evidence and asks about the relevance to the case.
He says although the evidence given earlier in the case was “dramatic” he does not consider it necessary in his role as judge to decide who was behind poo-gate…
The excrement in the bed
We return to the infamous photograph of the excrement in the marital bed, which the cleaner Hilda Vargas claimed to be human.
Ms Wass says “it’s patently absurd” that Depp claimed Heard did this.
In her evidence Heard called the excrement incident “horrific” and said: “I cannot imagine what human being would find this funny, other than Johnny.”
Ms Wass said their were echoes of this vulgar toilet humour in a text sent in 2013 by Depp to his ex-assistant Stephen Deuters, in which he suggested Mr Deuters relieve himself on the floor of the bedroom, so Heard would step in it.
Depp has referred to the poo as: “A fitting end to my relationship”.
30th birthday dinner
We turn to the 30th birthday party dinner to which Depp was late.
Ms Wass says Depp had been upset by bad financial news from his accountant, adding: “We know that Mr Depp turns to drink and drugs when he’s under stress.”
In this incident Depp is alleged to have thrown a bottle of champagne at her and shoved her to the floor several times.
Depp’s security guard Sean Bett (and former police officer) said he took a photo, and supplied it with his evidence to show Depp was injured by Heard on this occasion.
However, Ms Wass says it later came to light the photo he supplied had been taken on 23 May 2015, and not the 21 April 2016. When later questioned about this Mr Bett said the photo was sent to him by Depp’s lawyer Adam Waldman.
Mr Bett said he had however, taken a photo that night.
The court will now take a brief comfort break, and will be back with you momentarily.
‘A man’s got to be a man’
We hear a text exchange between Heard’s father and Depp which writes to David Heard: “A man’s got to be a man”.
Ms Wass says it’s texts between two violent men, one to the other. Earlier in this case we heard from both Heard and her sister Whitney that David Heard was physically violent to their late mother Paige throughout their childhood, and beyond.
The text exchange talks about fights between the Depp and Heard, and Mr Heard says “I’m not going to kill you, but there must be no more hitting”.
It goes on: “It’s not one sided and it’s not blameless… but she’s my kid and I love her unconditionally, and I think you do too.”
A later text from Depp apologises for “going to far in the fight”. Ms Wass says it’s evidence of violence.
The judge questions the word “fight”, saying it’s inference that this is referring to a physical fight rather than just a verbal argument.
Ms Wass says all of these witnesses delivered a mantra, reporting that Heard was: “Wearing no make up, no bruises, cuts or injuries.”
The make up issue
Ms Wass also suggests evidence given earlier in the case, by among others: Interior designer Laura Divenere, cleaner Hilda Vargas, security guard Sean Betts, estate manger Kevin Murphy, another security guard Starling Jenkins and Depp’s artist friend Isaac Baruch, is all to be doubted.
She says their insistence that Heard was wearing no make up, and had a clear face shortly after the alleged incident, would have been more believable if they had said they did not remember seeing make up, but she says their definite stance on the matter is akin with trying to back up Depp, and support him at all costs.
Heard’s stylist Samantha McMillan gave evidence last week, saying she saw no injuries on Heard’s face around the time of the alleged incident.
Ms Wass says this is directly conflicting with the evidence from Ms Inglessis who did her make up for the show.
Ms Wass says Heard told Ms McMillan after the show: “I can’t believe I got through that show with two black eyes”, but failed to ask any further questions on hearing “such incredible” information.
Ms Was says Ms McMillan “is lying”.
Here is a video of Heard’s appearance on The Late Late Show with James Corden.
Ms Wass says Depp’s lawyers have tried to establish that slight differences between photos taken by Heard on the days after the alleged attack showed they “lacked continuity”.
However, she says it’s the natural development of injuries, and refutes that images were manipulated or injuries were faked.
She also mentions the evidence of make up artist Melanie Inglessis who did Heard’s make up on 16 December ahead of the James Corden Late Late Show.
Ms Wass says it is ridiculous to suggest a professional make up artist would not know the difference between bruises created with make up and real bruises.
Here are two images of Heard on the James Corden show that night.
Ms Wass reads a text sent by Heard after the alleged attack which said: “J beat me up pretty good. I hurt. Don’t know what to do.”
There is also evidence that a text was sent by estate manager Mr Murphy asking for the maids to come and help clean up the apartment to clean up.
Clumps of hair
Photos taken by Heard’s friend and neighbour Raquel ‘Rocky’ Pennington appear to show clumps of Heard’s blond hair which she said was left on the floor of the penthouse. This photo is shown below.
Ms Pennington told the court during her evidence last week that the damage to Heard’s head was by far the most serious of the injuries.
Photos were also taken of Heard’s head, and the alleged damage caused to her scalp on 17 December 2015.
Ms Heard says the damage was caused to the crown of her head when Depp dragged her across the room. Ms Wass says: “It is clear there is hair missing from that part of the scalp.”
‘Bilateral bruising and swelling’
Ms Wass says this photo, taken on 16 December at 14.39, shows bilateral bruising and swelling to the nose consistent with a headbutt.
Ms Wass says Heard messaged her publicist that night to let her know she had bruising to her face, and had a nurse coming over to check she didn’t have concussion.
In the message she says she might not be able to appear on the show, but she will not know until the following day “how bad the bruising is”.
Ms Wass says the headbutt, and the “pulling out of her hair in clumps” show that the actions of Depp “were anything other than deliberate.”
She says Heard was trying to protect Depp by not expressly saying it was the result of attack by Mr Depp.
‘Hurled onto the bed’
The incident under discussion now is alleged to have taken place in December 2015 when Depp is alleged to have headbutted Heard, and “hurled her onto the bed with such force the bed frame was damaged”.
Heard claims Depp also threw a decanter at her, slapped her and dragged her through the apartment by her hair pulling out large chunks.
After he had left, the counter top in penthouse 3 was said to have gold graffiti on the counter top.
Heard was due to appear on James Corden Late Late Show the next day.
The transcript goes on to show Depp saying “sometimes I freak out”. Ms Wass says this is exactly the case in point, and that the problem was Depp “freaked out” during the relationship when taking drugs and drinking.
We are now turning to a different subject, and a different file of evidence. The judge gives out a large sigh, to which Ms Wass asks: “Sorry?”.
He chuckles, and says he was “giving an injudicious sigh” at the weight of the new volume of notes.
The court is looking at a transcript of a recording between the two, describing the incident.
Ms Wass says the conversation shows Depp was describing himself as being implicit in the argument.
One extract reads: “If I’m the culprit most of the time… I will do the best to recognise I’m heading side-ways… But please do the same, please do the same.”
Oriental Express trip
We move to an alleged incident on the couple’s honeymoon in August 2015, when Heard alleges Depp tried to strangle her with her own shirt.
Ms Wass says Mr Murphy did make a statement in Australia, and “he had lied in that statement”.
Ms Wass says he said Heard’s assistant Kate James had organised the paperwork for the dogs, but that was not true.
Ms James had been sacked by this point. Ms Wass says Mr Murphy accepted it had been his duty to check the paperwork.
Ms Wass says “the lie was to cover up his own incompetence at not doing his job properly.” She says it shows he was willing to lie to the court, and that “is the same accusation that is levelled at him in these proceedings.”
Pistol and Boo
Ms Wass says it is “uncontentious evidence” that Depp owned Teacup Yorkshire Terrier Boo, while Heard owned Teacup Yorkshire Terrier Pistol.
The dogs were illegally flown to Australia on a private jet on 21 April 2015.
The documentation had to be signed by both Depp and Heard.
Heard had been filming in London, and had to fly to LA in order to board the plane to Australia. She said she “had been aware” of issues around the dogs’ documentation, but had no reason to believe it had not been sorted out.
“The Australian court accepted Ms Heard’s explanation in full”, Ms Wass tells the court.
Ms Wass says Heard “took the blame” for the situation. She said Depp’s lawyer, Marty Singer, was part of the decision for Heard to take the entire blame, rather than blame for one dog each.
Ms Wass says Depp was “shielded by his lawyer, and by Ms Heard accepting to take the blame.”
She says using this example as proof of Heard’s “mendacious audacity” is “utterly false”. She calls this “another red herring to distract from the main issue of whether Mr Depp is wife beater or not”.
Earlier in the course of the trial we heard from estate manager Kevin Murphy who told the court Heard had threatened him to make a statement by Heard.
Court is now back in session.
The court will now take a lunch break, and we’ll be back with you just before 2pm.
Heard returned to Australia following the alleged incident, which was suggested by Depp’s team to be contrary to behaviour expected of someone who had suffered abuse in that place.
Ms Wass says this is to misunderstand the special circumstances around domestic violence.
Ms Wass says it was shortly after Whitney witnessed Depp’s violence towards Heard that Depp accused her of leaking photos of their wedding to the media.
Ms Wass says it was after this that “the two sisters, who had previously been so close, became estranged for many months.”
During this incident Depp is said to have destroyed Heard’s closet made up of several clothes rails and shoe wracks.
Heard’s sister took photos to document the damage, and sent them as evidence to estate manager Kevin Murphy.
Two of these photos are shown here:
We look at a text sent between nurse Debbie Lloyd and Depp’s security guard Travis McGivern.
In it Ms Lloyd says: “”Bad night last night. they got into it and it got violent again. I had to separate them and we are at 80 now…
“Good thing we got there in time otherwise they would have hurt each other. We had to separate them.”
It was during this fight that Depp was wearing a child’s dinosaur plaster cast on his hand, due to his finger injury.
This is the alleged damage to Depp’s face following the staircase incident.
The Rochelle texts
Just a few week’s after the Australia incident, the staircase incident took place.
This is the fight in which it’s alleged Depp hit both Heard and her sister Whitney, and was intending to push Whitney down the stairs.
During this incident Heard punched Depp with a closed fist “in an attempt to protect her sister”.
Ms Wass says “this is the only incident in which Ms Heard admits causing injury to Mr Depp.”
Ms Wass says this text is useful as it shows “the latest” the damage was done to Depp’s finger.
She says blood based graffiti was daubed on the walls and mirrors after the injury.
The Kipper text
The court is being directed to look at a text from Depp to his doctor Mr Kipper.
In it Depp writes: “I cut off the tip of my own finger”.
Debate now over which time zone the metadata describes – whether it is Australian time or US time.
Mr Sherborne clarifies that the text was sent at 11am Brisbane time.
She says Depp’s late head of security Mr Judge noticed bruises and cuts to Heard’s arm after the trip.
In evidence, Ben King said in his first statement that he had seen no injures on Heard after the trip. He later gave a second statement which said he had seen some injuries. Ms Wass says this is because he’d realised his initial statement could be disproved.
Ms Wass says Mr King also suggested the wall-mounted telephone in the house was intact after the incident.
In her evidence Head described Depp smashing it repeatedly against the wall, and so allegedly injuring his own finger.
Ms Wass says Mr King produced a photo of phone, but failed to take into account that in his evidence Depp said he had pulled a phone of the wall.
She says the incident shows: “How Mr Depp behaved when fortified by a surfeit of drink and drugs.”
She goes on to describe his behaviour as “deranged” painting the name of the subject of his jealous – Billy Bob Thornton – and his wife in paint and blood.
Ms Wass says the outer forearms are not a usual place for self-harm, and also that Depp himself in his evidence never suggested that Heard had self-harmed.
She says the extensive medical notes also suggest no self-harm from Heard.
She says despite that, Heard was asked in re-questioning whether self-harm was the cause of her injuries in Australia.
The judge asks if accidental injury would assist the defendant, or the contrary.
Ms Wass answers: “Beating your wife does not require injuries, but if after the unlawful act Ms Heard was thrown to the ground, which would itself be an unlawful act, and that in order to get up she injured her arms on glass that Mr Depp had broken there is still a continuing unlawful act. Although Mr Depp may not have intended for Ms Heard’s arms to get damaged.”
The judge seems to be implying this is getting a little complicated.
Ms Wass also raises that there is ” a difference between accident and recklessness” which she says might be relevant in the face of Depp’s use of drink and drugs.
Ms Wass says Depp’s late head of security confirmed Heard also had injuries after the Australia trip.
He says he saw cuts to the outside of Heard’s forearms, and bruises. Ms Wass says these injuries are consistent with Heard having to pull herself up amid broken glass.
‘Depp’s PR machine’
Ms Wass says a text sent by Depp to Dr Kipper on 30 May 2016 stated: “I lied to everyone about what happened to my finger.”
She says this was an example of Depp’s “PR machine” at work.
Ms Wass says the breaks and cuts to the finger are “wholly inconsistent with Mr Depp’s injuries”.
Ms Wass says Depp’s team went on to come up with excuses to explain Depp’s finger injury.
She says initially there was no suggestion the severing of Depp’s finger was caused by Heard throwing a vodka bottle.
Ms Wass says: “This evidence was only concocted after Ms Heard applied for a restraining order against Mr Depp.”
Ms Wass says an incidental five-hour video of Depp’s staff at the house goes a long way to showing the extent of this damage.
She says Depp had taken 10 ecstasy tablets ahead of the incident.
She says texts to Depp’s doctor, Dr Kipper, say Depp has injured his own finger.
Ms Wass says there are also texts from Depp’s assistant asking for more cocaine and more ecstasy. She says Depp must have been in “an extreme state of extreme intoxication not to realise he needed urgent medical attention rather than more drugs.”
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