A man described as a “Walter Mitty” 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 Apr 2011.
When his appeal came before Judge Katherine Delahunt at Dublin Circuit Court yesterday, Enda O’Neill, defending Watters, said that he “is out of the country, he is on a religious pilgrimage.”
Mr O’Neill confirmed that “the appeal is against severity only” and the prosecution had been given advance notice that Watters would not be present yesterday.
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.
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, Judge Dermot Dempsey said on Jan 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 Apr 9 last year, Watters had been socialising in Dublin and met Louis Walsh and friends in a pub in the city centre.
“He travelled with them to Krystle nightclub on Harcourt St,” Det Insp Cryan had said.
At about 4.30am Watters approached a garda on Harcourt St and “alleged he had been sexually assaulted by Mr Walsh”.
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 with gardaí, Watters admitted Mr 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 had been described by the defence as having a “fragile mind” and it was claimed alcohol had a detrimental effect on his ability to function normally.
Watters, who is in receipt of €188 from a disability payment, had previous convictions for breaching a barring order and for driving without a licence or insurance.
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