A judge has ruled Amber Heard's drinking of red wine and claims she altered vaccination certificates to smuggle her dogs into Australia will be used against her in Johnny Depp's libel case against the Sun.

Depp is suing the tabloid's publisher, News Group Newspapers (NGN), and its executive editor, Dan Wootton, over an April 2018 article that referred to the 56-year-old as a 'wife-beater'.

The article related to allegations made against Depp by actress Heard, 34, that he was violent towards her during their marriage - which he strenuously denies.

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Ryder said she was shocked at claims Depp had abused his ex-wife. Photo / Getty Images
Ryder said she was shocked at claims Depp had abused his ex-wife. Photo / Getty Images

During a High Court hearing last week, Depp's lawyers asked for the evidence of four additional witnesses - the actor's former partners Vanessa Paradis and Winona Ryder, mechanic David Killackey and Heard's former personal assistant Kate James - to be included in his case against the publisher.

In a High Court ruling on Monday, Justice Nicol gave consent for the statements of Paradis and Ryder to be included - which NGN lawyers had previously agreed to.

But the judge said Killackey's evidence would be excluded, and only parts of James's evidence could be admitted.

Jonyn Depp and Vanessa Paradis were together from 1998 to 2012. Photo / AP
Jonyn Depp and Vanessa Paradis were together from 1998 to 2012. Photo / AP

The judge ruled James's evidence relating to Heard's consumption of red wine, her impression of Depp, and an allegation that Heard provided altered vaccination certificates for the couple's pet dogs, could form part of Depp's case.

He also allowed a claim by James that Heard asked her to help draft a letter to US Homeland Security in 2014, which falsely claimed one of Heard's employees was just a friend, which meant she would not fall foul of regulations.

However, he excluded other parts of James's witness statement, including evidence relating to Heard's alleged drug taking, the redesign of the actress's apartment and her clothing style - saying they were 'irrelevant'.

The judge also said he will determine during the trial whether James's evidence relating to what was referred to in court as the 'Australia dogs episode', will be allowed to form part of Depp's case.

In 2014, Heard and Depp recorded a now notorious video apologising for bringing their Yorkshire terriers Pistol and Boo into Australia illegally.

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Heard pleaded guilty to falsifying an immigration document to conceal the dogs in a private jet in 2014 and avoided jail under a deal that included appearing in the video warning others against breaking Australia's strict quarantine laws.

At last week's hearing, lawyers for Depp said evidence from Paradis, who has two children with the star, and actress Winona Ryder, with whom he had a relationship in the 1990s, should form part of his case against the publisher.

David Sherborne, representing Depp, said in court documents that his relationship with Paradis ended in 2012, shortly before he and Heard were together 'and when he is first alleged to have been violent'.

In her statement, Paradis said: "I have known Johnny for more than 25 years. We've been partners for 14 years and we raised our two children together."

"Through all these years I've known Johnny to be a kind, attentive, generous, and non-violent person and father."

She added: "He was never violent or abusive to me."

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In her statement, Ryder said: "I cannot wrap my head around (Heard's) accusations."

"He was never, never violent towards me. He was never, never abusive at all towards me."

Sherborne said Killackey's witness statement referred to an incident after Heard 'asked for her car to be released without payment', which Killackey refused.

Killackey claimed Heard had said: Johnny isn't paying my rent, he isn't paying my bills, f*** him, f*** you,' Sherborne said.

The moment everything went downhill for Johnny Depp. Video / Entertainment Tonight

Sherborne said James, who worked for Heard during the early years of her relationship with Depp, claims Heard asked her to lie about "the Australia dogs episode".

Sasha Wass QC, representing NGN and Wootton, argued during last week's hearing that the evidence of Killackey and James was 'largely tangential', describing James as a 'disaffected ex-employee' who was giving 'contentious and malicious evidence'.

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Depp's lawyer said: 'The Sun attempted to exclude the truth. But in a case about Amber Heard's lies and frauds to get what she wants, we are delighted that we will be able to show Amber Heard's history of lies and frauds to get what she wants.

"Heard's own assistant has testified that Heard lied under oath to a foreign court, defrauded Homeland Security, and she has attempted to suborn the perjury of third parties. It is deja vu all over again in Depp vs The Sun."

A spokesman for Heard said: "As the judgment today shows, Depp's team has been attempting to introduce irrelevant evidence."

"This is one of the defining characteristics of their strategy – to adduce irrelevant evidence designed to smear Heard and distract from the facts so that people do not focus on Depp's behaviour."

A judge has permitted Johnny Depp to call on his former lovers to defend him in court. Photo / Getty Images
A judge has permitted Johnny Depp to call on his former lovers to defend him in court. Photo / Getty Images

A two-week trial was due to start in London on March 23 at which the actor, Heard and a number of Hollywood figures would have had to give evidence, but it was put on hold due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

The trial is now set to take place at the Royal Courts of Justice over three weeks from July 7, with strict social distancing measures in place.

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Sherborne said Depp intends to travel from his home in France to London to give evidence, while Heard will be able to travel from California but will have to observe a 14-day quarantine if current restrictions remain in place.

The libel claim against NGN and Wootton arises out of publication of an article in The Sun in April 2018, under the headline: "Gone Potty - How can JK Rowling be 'genuinely happy' casting wife-beater Johnny Depp in the new Fantastic Beasts film?"

Depp has brought separate libel proceedings against Heard in the US, which the court has previously heard are 'ongoing'.

The pair met on the set of 2011 comedy The Rum Diary and married in Los Angeles in February 2015.

In May 2016, Heard obtained a restraining order against Depp after accusing him of abuse, which he denied.

The couple settled their divorce out of court in 2017, with Heard donating her 11.6 million dollar settlement to charity.

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