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Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Leonard Watters sentenced, Louis Walsh, X Factor

Life for Liars, groups campaigning for a stronger approach to those who make false allegations of sexual assault are calling for the sentence to be increased to LIFE, a spokesman for Life for Liars said:
"Louis Walsh is one of the lucky ones, many innocent people have been jailed on the basis of well rehersed stories in order to extract money and achieve almost pop star status for their lonely and pathetic lives, Louis Walsh was lucky to have good Gardai investigating the allegations and not Gardai who may have got carried away with the baying tabloid mob".
Leonard Watters, Navan, Meath, who falsely accused X-Factor judge Louis Walsh of groping him in a nightclub will be sentenced today, it is expected that he will be sentenced to three years which will be suspended for three years dependent on being of good behavior.
Unemployed dance teacher Leonard Watters pleaded guilty to making two false reports to Irish police that the pop music mogul sexually assaulted him in Dublin nightspot Krystle last April.
The 24-year-old went into the witness box in the city's District Court to say sorry to Mr Walsh.
"I would like to sincerely apologise to Mr Louis Walsh for all the stuff I put him through. The allegation was false," he said.
Judge Dermot Dempsey ordered a probation and welfare report on the defendant and adjourned sentencing to January 5.
"I'm considering a custodial sentence given the gravity of it," warned the judge, who can impose a fine of 634 euro (£547) per charge and/or 12 months in prison. It's a very serious matter."
Watters, a father-of-two from Navan, Co Meath, has previous convictions for breaching a barring order under domestic violence laws and driving offences.
Louis Walsh has received an apology from Watters (Pic: ITV)
Detective Inspector Michael Cryan told the court the defendant had claimed the assault happened on Saturday, April 9, after Westlife had performed in Dublin's 02.
Watters and Walsh had been socialising in a pub and travelled to Krystle together, he said, but at about 4am to 4.30am Watters approached a Garda officer on patrol outside the celebrity spot on Harcourt Street alleging he had been sexually assaulted by Walsh.
The defendant was taken to Mountjoy Garda Station where he made the same allegation, before being examined at a sexual assault unit - which revealed bruising in his genital area.
More than two months later, on June 20, he showed investigators the toilet in the nightclub where he alleged the offence took place and made his first formal statement.
Within days Mr Walsh was interviewed under caution and denied the allegation, added Det Insp Cryan. Watters made a second false statement on June 27 and was shown CCTV from the nightclub.
"It became obvious the CCTV did not support his allegations," he added.
When Watters was arrested at his home on June 28 he admitted Walsh did not sexually assault him.
"He continued to claim he was sexually assaulted in the toilets but that Louis Walsh did not do it," the detective added.
In mitigation, solicitor Cahir O'Higgins said his client was now seen as a pariah in his home town and a Walter Mitty type character.
He maintained Watters was a fragile, vulnerable person who was psychologically shaky and recently self harmed. His respected parents have been left traumatised by being in the public domain.
The early school leaver suffered severe burns in an accident when he was 12 or 13 and received a large award, which he made his way through staggeringly quickly, the court was told.
The former ballroom dance teacher, who is on disability benefit of 188 euro (£166), has been left unemployable, the solicitor added.
Outside the court, Mr O'Higgins said Watters - who was dressed in a black suit, black shirt and black and white stripped tie - absolutely and without reservation acceptedWalsh did absolutely nothing wrong.
"He is extremely sorry and wishes to formally and publicly apologise for any hurt or any pain he caused to Louis Walsh," he said.
"Whatever occurred in Krystle nightclub has nothing to do with Louis Walsh in any shape or form."
Mr O'Higgins said his client considered himself blessed not to be jailed.
"He sees it as an opportunity to change his life, to make a fresh start and to take maximum advantage that he possible can from being remanded to liaise with the Probation and Welfare," he added.
Walsh became a household name in 2004 when he was announced as a judge on X Factor and is the only remaining member of the original panel. He has managed a number of groups and performers, including boy bands Boyzone and Westlife.