“Truth Never Perishes”
After weeks of evidence, and millions tuning in around the world, Johnny Depp was awarded USD$10.35 million; Amber Heard awarded USD$2 million.
While this result probably comes as no surprise to those that followed along from home, you do need to ask yourself: Was It Worth It?
Depp, always private in the past, opened up his life to world wide scrutiny to clear his name of the Domestic and Sexual Abuse claims against him.
From personal details about his life, medical emergencies all the way to messages and conversations with family & friends.
TW abuse, SA.
How does this defamation case compare to Australia’s own Craig Mclachlan? Who dropped his case and was ordered to pay costs estimated at AUD$2 million.
First, a quick recap of how defamation law works in NSW, Australia
Defamation law is contained in the Defamation Act 2005 (NSW).
Defamation occurs when something is said or written by one person which negatively affects the reputation of another person- and there is no defence to the published statement. Defences include that what was said or written is substantially true or was an honest opinion.
After taking some initial steps (serving a ‘concerns notice’ asking for a public apology, withdrawal of the defamatory material and perhaps payment of some monetary amount) you can bring defamation proceedings in Court and seek damages.
The onus of proof is on the Defendant to prove that they did not defame the plaintiff.
How does it work in America?
Defamation law varies from state to state in America, however in the State of Virginia, where Johnny Depp brought Proceedings, he had to prove not only that he did not assault Amber Heard but also that the article written by Ms. Heard, defamed him and was written with actual malice.
In Australia, sexual assault and harassment claims were made against Actor Craig Mclachlan who subsequently sued the ABC, Fairfax and Christie Whelan Browne.
Mclachlan dropped the case before witnesses were due to take the stand to testify against him.
It is purely speculative that Mclachlan dropped the case because he sensed that he would lose, indeed he has cited mental health and his family as his reasons for discontinuing the proceedings.
On a purely speculative basis though, the evidence that was about to be called against him appears to be the key difference between this case and the Depp / Heard case. There was little evidence, other than what Heard alleged herself that went to Depp being abusive. In fact, many people took to the stand to testify that Depp was of stand-up character. In contrast, witnesses were lining up (11 women were set to take the stand alleging misconduct) to detail less than savory interactions with Mclachlan.
Defamation is an ever expanding area of law, due in part to the rise of social media. If you believe you have been defamed we may be able to take decisive preliminary action on your behalf to avoid Court Proceedings. Contact us if you want to know more!
At Green & Associates, we are experts in applying for no convictions and have an excellent success rate in achieving this for our clients. Regardless of the charge, we are ready to be in your corner and assist you during this uncertain time. If you or someone you know needs more information about Defamation, contact our office or book an appointment today.