Walsh wins right to all ‘Sun’ probe documents

Louis Walsh has been told in the High Court he is entitled to discovery of documents relating to The Sun newspaper’s investigation into a Garda probe into an alleged sex attack by him on a man in a nightclub toilet.

The allegations made by Leonard Watters, 25, against Walsh were false and Watters was sentenced to six months in prison last January.

Mr Justice Iarfhlaith O’Neill ruled yesterday that MrWalsh was entitled to all documents associated with the newspaper’s crime writer Joanne McElgunn’s investigation into assertions and allegations concerning Mr Walsh and Watters.

The judge also directed that the newspaper provide all documents identifying or referring to any alleged payments made or offered by the newspaper to Watters and statements of any of Ms McElgunn’s expenses attached to the story.

He said Mr Walsh was entitled to any documentation referring to the booking of a hotel room for Watters in Jun 2011 and directed discovery of bank statements, text messages, emails and records of phone calls relating to the story.

The judge’s orders also apply to The Sun’s Irish editor Michael McNiff; Gordon Smart, journalist with The Sun; and Dominic Mohan, editor of the newspaper.

The order relates to any information or documents they possess relating to the preparation of the article that was headed: “Louis Probed Over ‘Sex Attack’ on Man in Loo.” Mr Walsh has sued Newsgroup Newspapers Ltd, which publishes The Sun, for damages, including aggravated and exemplary damages, for defamation of character arising out of the article published in The Sun on Jun 23, 2011, and on its website, www.thesun.co.uk on the same date.

Judge O’Neill said the discovery of documents would not apply to communications between the newspaper’s journalists and persons other than Watters and members of An Garda Síochána concerning publication of the article.

The question of costs regarding the discovery application was adjourned until next Tuesday.

Judge O’Neill, in a reserved judgment, said that in the particulars supporting Mr Walsh’s claim for damages he had alleged that Ms McElgunn had met Watters in the Newbridge Hotel, Navan, bought him dinner and offered him money on behalf of The Sun if he agreed to make a complaint to the gardaí about being assaulted by Mr Walsh.

Thereafter, on the same day, it was alleged Ms McElgunn travelled with Watters to Pearse St Garda Station so he could make the agreed complaint.

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