Mr Justice Nicol has ruled that Mr Depp’s case against The Sun’s owners News Group Newspapers will be postponed until after the worldwide crisis subsides.
A two-week trial was due to begin in
Ms Heard, 33, had said she was prepared to fly out from LA and risk her health to bring the ‘ordeal’ her ex-husband has launched against her to an end.
But now the trial has been adjourned ‘reluctantly’ at today’s preliminary hearing.
Johnny Depp pictured at an earlier date outside the High Court in London. Mr Justice Nicol ruled that his libel trial against The Sun newspaper would be adjourned due to the coronavirus pandemic
Depp and his ex-wife Amber Heard attending the 58th Grammy Awards in LA, February 2016
Mr Depp, 56, allegedly sent explosive texts to Lady Gaga’s ex-fiance Christian Carino in which he claimed that Heard was ‘begging for global humiliation’.
He also appeared to claim that Heard had a sexual liaison with billionaire tech entrepreneur Elon Musk in order to access legal representation.
One message sent on August 15, 2016 was read to the High Court today: ‘She’s begging for global humiliation, she’s gonna get it.
‘I’m gonna need your texts about San Francisco.
‘Brother, I’m sorry to even ask but she sucked mollusc’s [Elon Musk’s] crooked d*** and he gave her some sh**y lawyers.
‘I have no mercy left of what I thought was love for this gold-digging, low level, dime-a-dozen mushy, pointless, flappy fish market.
‘I’m happy to fight her to the end. She will hit the wall hard.
‘I met a f**ing sublime little Russian here. That time I blew on a 50 cent stripper I would not touch her with a goddamn glove.
‘I can only hope karma kicks in and takes the gift of breath from her. Sorry man but I will stop at nothing.’
Adam Wolanski QC for News Group Newspapers, which owns The Sun, alleged that Depp ‘has for many years used his physical, financial, and professional power to embarrass and harass’ Heard to attempt to destroy her career.
Heard and Depp attending The Art of Elysium 2016 Gala together in California
Heard leaving the Superior Court of LA in California in May 2016, with what appears to be a bruise on her right cheek after obtaining a restraining order against Mr Depp
In a text sent to Depp’s sister Christi Dembrowski in June 2016 , the actor: ‘I want her replaced on that WB (Warner Brothers) film.’
The message is thought to be a reference to Aquaman, in which Heard starred.
Speaking about Heard’s offer to catch a flight from LA amid the coronavirus panic, Mr Wolanski said: ‘Why is she prepared to take those very unusual steps?
‘Because as she’s explained in her statement, it is essential to her that the ordeal Mr Depp has subjected her to for many years be brought to an end.’
Jenny Afia represented Depp in court today while his barrister David Sherborne stays with him in his French chateau.
She claimed Depp cared more about the ‘welfare of everyone’ than he did about salvaging his reputation.
Ms Afia said: ‘As much as Depp wants to be here in person on Monday he will physically not be able to attend – the position in France with regard to the serious lockdown means that this is now doubtful.
‘He recognises that importance is not more important than the very real and immediate situation we are facing.
‘And by we I don’t just mean the legal team I mean court staff, members of the press and so on.
‘Mr Depp doesn’t regard the case, as important as it is to him, to be more important than everybody else’s health and welfare.
Depp leaving the High Court in London on February 26, 2020, where his trial will take place
‘In any event we do not believe that Ms Heard’s desire for a trial cannot possibly outweigh the importance of justice being done.
‘It’s not just about whether or not Mr Depp can get here.’
Mr Wolanski, barrister for The Sun, questioned whether it was possible for Depp, who owns a private jet, to land the helicopter on his palatial 37-acre French estate and fly to the UK.
‘We don’t know if he has tried to leave France.
‘We don’t know if it is possible to land a helicopter on the 37-acre estate.’
The lawyer said the real reason Depp is refusing to attend was because he was a ‘coward’ and knew he would lose.
Mr Wolanski said: ‘[It is] not because of the coronavirus but because he cannot face the lies about his relationship being exposed because he’s a coward and because he knows he’s going to lose.’
Speaking after the decision was made to postpone the trial, Depp’s lawyer Adam Waldman said: ‘Mr Depp has spent years seeking justice.
‘The judge hearing Mr Depp’s defamation case against the Sun raised safety and practicality concerns.
‘Although the case is extremely important to Mr Depp, he is also uneasy about putting anyone else in harm’s way for the sake of it.’