grim proceedings  | 

The verdict is in – both Amber Heard and Johnny Depp are losers in sordid trial

Hopefully, once a verdict is reached, they can go back to starring in movies instead of court cases.
Actor Amber Heard stands with her attorney Elaine Bredehoft Photo: Steve Helber/Pool via REUTERS

Actor Amber Heard stands with her attorney Elaine Bredehoft Photo: Steve Helber/Pool via REUTERS

Deirdre Reynolds

Team Johnny and little-but-loud Team Amber were out in force in Virginia on Friday as closing arguments were delivered in the (no offence, Wagatha Christie) defamation trial of the century.

Whatever way the jury of five men and two women go after deliberations continue in Fairfax County Courthouse on Tuesday, I think we can all unanimously agree: thank goodness it’s almost over.

Over the past seven weeks, the Twittersphere has been glued to the duelling lawsuits spanning everything from the #MeToo movement to Aquaman Jason Momoa’s pay packet via teary testimonies and more objections than you can shake a gavel at.

There’s been ‘mega pints’, a mystery poo, gummy bears, supermodel witness, lawyer with her own fan page, and – far too often forgotten amid the whole circus – at the nub of it all, some pretty shocking accusations of physical and sexual assault.

Depp, to summarise, is suing his ex-wife for $50m for an op-ed she wrote in The Washington Post, two years after their marriage ended, claiming she was the victim of domestic violence.

Actor Johnny Depp in court in Virginia. Photo: Steve Helber/Reuters

Actor Johnny Depp in court in Virginia. Photo: Steve Helber/Reuters

Heard, for her part, is counter-suing her former husband of almost two years for twice that, alleging he tried to destroy her Hollywood career.

Each, describing the “humiliation” they felt over their dirty laundry being aired so publicly, gave the performance of their lives on the stand.

As the mud-slinging continued on both sides, it was at once impossible to watch, and impossible to look away from the televised trial.

Stateside, serial killer Ted Bundy was one of the first to play to the cameras when his 1979 double murder-trial was televised nationally, lighting the fuse for the true-crime genre.

More recently, who can forget OJ Simpson wrestling with a leather glove while on trial for the murders his ex-wife Nicole Brown Simpson and Ronald Goldman, or ‘blade runner’ Oscar Pistorius removing his prosthetic limbs and hobbling across the South African appeals court where he was found guilty of the murder of girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp.

Presiding over this civil case, Judge Penney Azcarate told how she couldn’t find “any good cause” to keep the cameras out, despite fears the wall-to-wall coverage could be upsetting for victims of domestic violence, or even put others off coming forward as graphic testimony was turned into meme fodder while anti-Amber sentiment grew.

Outside the courtroom though, as fans camped from daybreak to try to secure one of the coveted 100 wristbands for a front-row seat to the action, you did have to wonder who exactly this perverted form of binge-watching serves.

During the course of the trial fans have gathered outside the courtroom (Craig Hudson/AP)

During the course of the trial fans have gathered outside the courtroom (Craig Hudson/AP)

Transparency in the administration of justice is imperative – but so too is avoiding turning real-life trauma into box office entertainment.

Despite the court of public opinion coming down on the side of the Pirates of the Caribbean star, even an armchair juror 3,500 miles away can tell neither star was exactly on their best behaviour during the volcanic relationship.

Hopefully, once a verdict is reached, they can go back to starring in movies instead of court cases.


Today's Headlines

More Showbiz

Download the Sunday World app

Now download the free app for all the latest Sunday World News, Crime, Irish Showbiz and Sport. Available on Apple and Android devices