Man charged over Walsh grope claim

A 24-year-old man has been charged with falsely accusing 'X-Factor' judge Louis Walsh of groping him in a nightclub.

A 24-year-old man has been charged with falsely accusing 'X-Factor' judge Louis Walsh of groping him in a nightclub.

Leonard Watters appeared in court over unfounded allegations that the pop music mogul had indecently assaulted him on a night out in Krystle in Dublin.

Watters, who was granted bail on condition he does not contact Walsh or anyone from the Westlife band, is charged with making a false report to gardai.

He appeared at a brief sitting of the Dublin District Court just before 1pm.

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

The court was told the allegation against Walsh was made on June 20 at Harcourt Terrace Garda station in the city centre.

Watters was charged under section 12 of the Criminal Law Act, and penalties for the offence range from a €500 fine to five years in prison.

The accused has told investigating officers he has no fixed abode but the court heard he is from Navan in Co Meath.

Judge William Early granted bail on a total of three conditions. As well as avoiding contact with Walsh and Westlife, he must not interfere with any other potential witnesses and must provide an address within the next 24 hours.

Watters, who was ordered to pay a €300 bond to secure his release on bail, is unemployed.

The accused, dressed in a black top, blue shirt and jeans, made no reply when charged, arresting officer Detective Inspector Michael Cryan told the court.

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

Mayo 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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