A man described as a “Walter Mitty” type has launched an appeal against his jail sentence for concocting allegations that he was sexually assaulted by 'X Factor' judge Louis Walsh.
Leonard Watters (aged 24), a father-of-two from Woodview, Navan, Co. Meath, was given a six-month term in January at Dublin District Court but was released within minutes after he lodged papers to appeal the sentence.
The former dance teacher had pleaded guilty to making up unfounded claims that the pop guru sexually assaulted him in the toilets of the Krystle nightclub, in Dublin city centre, in April, 2011.
Today his appeal came before Judge Katherine Delahunt at the Circuit Court in Dublin, however, Watters was not present. His counsel Mr Enda O'Neill told the appeal court judge that Watters “is out of the country, he is on a religious pilgrimage”.
The barrister also confirmed that “the appeal is against severity only” and the prosecution had been given advance notice that Watters would not be present today.
Mr O'Neill also said the prosecution was not objecting to an adjournment in the circumstances.
Judge Delahunt agreed to set a new date for the appeal which will be heard next month and told the defence barrister that it was his responsibility to notify Watters.
The former dance teacher had admitted making false reports to gardaí at Harcourt Terrace Garda station, on June 20 last and at his home on June 28 last.
After reading psychological reports on Watters, Dublin District Court Judge Dermot Dempsey said on January 25 last that he had sympathy for him. However, that judge imposed the six-month term saying Watters was a public risk who had put Louis Walsh “through a lot of pain and anguish”.
Detective Inspector Michael Cryan had told the district court that on April 9 last year Watters had been socialising in Dublin and met Louis Walsh and friends in a bar in the city-centre.
“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 there and he made the same allegation to them. Later, two more officers spoke to Watters who repeated his claims.
Det Insp Cryan met Watters on June 14, and he “made the same allegations”. On June 20 last, he made his first formal statement to gardaí in which he “made the allegation that he was sexually assaulted”.
Watters went with Det Insp Cryan to Krystle nightclub and “pointed out toilets where he alleged it happened”.
Four days later Det Insp Cryan interviewed Louis Walsh; “The allegations were put to him, and he denied it.”
On June 27, Det Insp Cryan met Watters again, at his home, in Navan, where CCTV footage from the nightclub was shown to him. “It became clear from CCTV it did not support his allegations,” Det Cryan had said adding that Watters then “admitted that the allegation was false”.
Later, during a series of interviews at Pearse Street Garda station in Dublin, Watters admitted Louis Walsh did not sexually assault him. He claimed he had been assaulted in the toilets at Krystle nightclub but “Louis Walsh did not do that.”
The defence had told the district court that Watters had become regarded as “a pariah in his community”, and thought of “as a Walter Mitty” and a liar.
At the age of 13, he suffered serious burns in an accident, which has left him scarred and played havoc with his schooling.
When he turned 18, he was awarded €800,000 in compensation which he frittered away over a two-year period on “fancy cars” and alcohol, “drinking two bottles of Southern Comfort a day”.
“He returned home to his parents penniless and broke” but later took up work teaching dancing which has ended as a result of this case. The district court had heard that Watters had also engaged in episodes of self-harm.
He had been described by the defence as having a “fragile mind” and alcohol had a detrimental effect on his ability to function normally,
Watters, who is in receipt of €188 from a disability payment, had criminal convictions for breaching a barring order and for driving without a licence or insurance.
At a previous hearing, Watters said: “I would like to apologise to Mr Louis Walsh for all the stuff I put him through and the allegations were false".