Sentence for false sex claim against Walsh appealed


A MAN described as a “Walter Mitty” has been given a six-month jail term for concocting allegations that he was sexually assaulted by X Factorjudge Louis Walsh.

However, before he could be taken to prison, Leonard Watters (24), a father of two from Woodview, Navan, Co Meath, was released after he lodged papers to appeal the severity of the sentence.

The former dance teacher had pleaded guilty in November to making up claims that Mr Walsh sexually assaulted him in the toilets of Krystle nightclub in Dublin last April. He had admitted making false reports to gardaí at Harcourt Terrace Garda station, Dublin, on June 20th, and at his home on June 28th. He appeared at Dublin District Court yesterday for sentencing.

After reading psychological reports on Watters, Judge Dermot Dempsey said he had sympathy for him. However, he went on to say Watters was a public risk and had put Mr Walsh “through a lot of pain and anguish”.

The judge said he was satisfied that placing Watters under supervision was not appropriate as he imposed a prison sentence.

Afterwards Watters indicated that he intended to appeal the severity of the sentence. The judge set appeal bail at €400, of which €100 had to be lodged.

After the money was handed into court and he signed his bond, Watters was released from custody and left the courthouse pending the appeal.

Det Insp Michael Cryan had told the court that on April 9th last, Watters had been socialising in Dublin and met Mr Walsh and friends in a bar in the city. “He travelled with them to Krystle nightclub on Harcourt Street,” Det Insp Cryan had said.

At about 4.30am Watters approached a garda on Harcourt Street and “alleged he had been sexually assaulted by Mr Walsh”.

Watters then went to the Mater hospital, in Dublin to be examined.

Two gardaí spoke to him at the hospital where he “made the same allegation to them”. Det Garda Insp Cryan interviewed Mr Walsh, who denied the allegations.

On June 27th, Det Insp Cryan met Watters again, at his home in Navan, where CCTV footage from the nightclub was shown to him which did not support his allegation. Watters then admitted the allegation was false.

Solicitor Cahir O’Higgins, defending, told the court that Watters came from a respectable family. However, he was now regarded as “a pariah in his community”. He said Watters has apologised publicly for the “disgusting” allegations.