Belfast Telegraph

False Walsh claim 'a cry for help'

An unemployed dance teacher who falsely accused X Factor judge Louis Walsh of groping him in a nightclub has suffered from post-traumatic stress for more than a decade, a court has heard.

Leonard Watters is appealing against a six-month sentence for making two false reports to gardai that the pop music mogul sexually assaulted him in Dublin nightspot Krystle in April 2011.

His solicitor, Cahir O'Higgins, told Dublin Circuit Court that new medical reports revealed the father-of-two has suffered from post-traumatic stress since he was badly burned in an accident when he was 11 years old.

He described his 24-year-old client, who has been on bail since he was sentenced in January, as a Walter Mitty-type character who became star-struck over the company he was with in the celebrity nightclub and made an idiotic allegation which was the ultimate cry for help. Judge Katherine Delahunt adjourned her decision until Friday morning.

The court heard Watters went to The Irish Sun newspaper with his story the day he made an official complaint to gardai.

Walsh is suing Newsgroup Newspapers, publishers of The Sun, for defamation over an article it published on June 23 last year. The paper has accepted the accusation was false but denied defamation, saying that it had acted fairly.

A watching brief for Walsh was in court for the short appeal hearing.

Detective Inspector Michael Cryan said Watters met Mr Walsh and friends in a Dublin pub on Saturday April 9, before they travelled to Krystle together. Later, at about 4.30am, Watters approached a Garda outside the Harcourt Street club, alleging he had been sexually assaulted by the pop impresario.

The defendant was taken to a city centre hospital where an examination in a sexual assault unit showed bruising to his genitals. He also repeated the allegation to a doctor, a nurse and two more gardai.

Dressed in a black suit and white shirt, Watters, who has previous convictions for breaching a barring order under domestic violence laws and for driving offences, did not speak during the hearing.

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