Man in court over Louis Walsh grope claim

An unemployed man who accused X Factor judge Louis Walsh of groping him in a nightclub has appeared in court charged with inventing the story.

Leonard Watters is accused of knowingly making a false report to gardai that the pop music mogul indecently assaulted him on a night out in Krystle in Dublin.



The 24-year-old was granted bail on condition that he does not contact Walsh or any member of Westlife.



Detective Inspector Michael Cryan told Dublin District Court that Watters made no reply when he was charged with the offence before the brief hearing.



He is accused of making the allegation against Walsh at Harcourt Terrace Garda station in the city centre on June 20.



Walsh has described the investigation over the last week as hugely distressing.



Dressed in a black top, blue shirt and jeans, the accused shook his head from side to side in court when asked if he was working.



Originally from Navan in Co Meath, he has told investigating officers he has no fixed address at the moment and plans to stay with a friend.



Judge William Early ordered Watters to pay a 300 euro (£269) bond to secure his release on bail.



Conditions include not making contact with Walsh, any member of Westlife, or any other potential witnesses and staying away from Krystle nightclub.



Watters also must provide an address within the next 24 hours.



There was no objection to bail from the State solicitor and the case was adjourned until September 7 at the District Court.



Watters, who was charged under section 12 of the Criminal Law Act, declined to comment as he walked from the Criminal Courts of Justice complex in Dublin flanked by two solicitors.



He covered his face with sheets of papers and pulled the hood of his jacket over his head.



Penalties for the alleged offence range from a 500 euro fine to five years in prison.



Irish music mogul Walsh became a household name in 2004 when he became a judge on The 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.



Watters was arrested in his home town, Navan, yesterday and taken to Dublin for questioning after Walsh was told by investigating officers that his name had been cleared.



In a statement, the Westlife manager said he was outraged that an unfounded allegation of indecent assault was ever published and he had instructed his libel lawyer.



He said: "I have robustly maintained from the outset that this alleged incident did not occur.



"I have no intention of letting this matter rest until I have received total and absolute vindication.



"This has been a hugely distressing time for me but I would like to thank all my friends and colleagues for their support and I am now just looking forward to getting back to work."

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