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Thursday 21 August 2014

Video: Louis Walsh wins €500,000 in damages over false grope claim in Sun newspaper

Sarah Stack

Published 28/11/2012 | 08:36

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X Factor judge Louis Walsh on his way into court for his defamation case against Rupert Murdoch's News Group Newspapers. Photo: PA
X Factor judge Louis Walsh on his way into court for his defamation case against Rupert Murdoch's News Group Newspapers. Photo: PA
Louis Walsh

X Factor judge Louis Walsh has received a €500,000 payout from The Irish Sun newspaper in Ireland over a story based on an unfounded sex assault allegation.

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The out-of-court deal was reached after the music mogul sued The Sun over a story last year based on a false allegation that he sexually assaulted a man in a Dublin night-spot.

Outside court, Walsh said he would not have wished what happened to him on his worst enemy.



"I'm very relieved," he said. "This has had a terrible effect on me. It was all lies.



"I am therefore absolutely gutted and traumatised that these allegations against me should have been published, particularly as I had made it clear there was not one iota of truth in it. And I was totally bewildered as to who would have made up this story."







Mr Walsh's lawyer Paul Tweed revealed outside court that the Sun had agreed to pay €500,000 in damages plus costs.

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





Eoin McCullough, senior counsel for News Group Newspapers, read a statement to the High Court in Dublin apologising to Walsh.



"The Sun published an article in its editions of 23 June 2011, in which we reported that Louis Walsh was being investigated in relation to a sexual assault on Leonard Watters," he said.



"In fact it transpired that Leonard Watters had made a false statement to An Garda Siochana, and he has since been convicted in relation to this matter.



"The Sun fully accepts that the alleged assault did not occur in the first place and Louis Walsh is entirely innocent of any such assault.



"The Sun unreservedly apologies to Louis Walsh for any distress caused to him as a result of our article."



Walsh took legal action against the Murdoch group for damages over the article published on June 23, 2011, with the headline "Louis Probed Over 'Sex Attack' on Man in Loo".



The paper accepted the accusation was false but initially denied defamation, saying that it had acted fairly as the story was based on garda inquiries in to the allegation.

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