Walsh in court for defamation case against The Sun

'X Factor' judge Louis Walsh will be back in court today for his defamation case against Rupert Murdoch’s News Group Newspapers.

Walsh in court for defamation case against The Sun

'X Factor' judge Louis Walsh will be back in court today for his defamation case against Rupert Murdoch’s News Group Newspapers.

The music mogul sued the media group after The Sun published a false story that he sexually assaulted a man in a Dublin night-spot.

Unemployed dance teacher Leonard Watters was jailed for six months in July for wrongly accusing Walsh of groping him in the celebrity nightclub Krystle after a Westlife concert in April 2011.

Walsh took legal action against the Murdoch group over its coverage of Garda inquiries into allegations.

He sued for damages, including for aggravated and exemplary damages, over an article published on June 23 2011 with the headline “Louis Probed Over ’Sex Attack’ on Man in Loo”.

The paper has accepted the accusation was false but have denied defamation, saying that it acted fairly.

The case is listed for mention in the High Court in Dublin the day before Lord Justice Leveson’s report on media standards and ethics is published.

Watters, a 25-year-old father-of-two, alleged he had been sexually assaulted by Walsh in a toilet at the club. His first complaint was made to police outside the club within hours of the false attack.

Watters was later examined in a sexual assault unit, which revealed bruising in his genital area.

Lawyers for the music promoter claimed a crime writer with the Irish edition of The Sun, Joanne McElgunn, met Watters in a hotel on June 15, bought him dinner and offered him a sum of money on behalf of the newspaper if he agreed to make a complaint to police about being assaulted by Walsh.

It is also alleged the journalist travelled with Watters to Pearse Street garda station so he could make the agreed complaint against Walsh, and that Watters was paid €700 and promised further payments after the story was printed.

When the official complaint was made, The Sun and The Irish Sun printed the story before Walsh was questioned under caution. He vigorously denied the accusation.

But within days investigators showed Watters CCTV footage from the club that disputed his claims, and he admitted he had made up the allegation.

Watters, from Navan in Co Meath, was arrested, charged and publicly apologised to Walsh for the unfounded claims. He was recently released from jail.

Meanwhile, Walsh took a case against the newspaper, which had been ordered by a judge to hand over all documents identifying or referring to any payments made or offered to Watters.

The orders also applied to Ms McElgunn, Sun journalist Gordon Smart and Dominic Mohan, editor of The Sun, and Michael McNiff, former Irish Sun editor who resigned last month.

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