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Louis Walsh smiles after the High Court was told of The Sun's settlement in a defamation claim. Laura Hutton/Photocall Ireland

Louis Walsh 'completely vindicated' by Sun publisher's €500k settlement

The High Court was told this morning that the pop manager’s High Court defamation case against Newsgroup had been settled.

X FACTOR judge Louis Walsh has said he has been “completely vindicated” by the decision of the publisher of The Irish Sun newspaper to settle a defamation case taken by Walsh for €500,000.

The High Court was due to hear mention of Walsh’s case against The Sun’s publisher Newsgroup, over the newspaper’s publication of a false story alleging a sexual assault by Walsh against another man, Leonard Watters, this morning.

When the case came up, the court was told that the matter had been settled out of court.

Lawyers for The Sun read an apology in court, in which it “fully accepts that the alleged assault did not occur” and offered an “unreserved apology”.

Outside the court Walsh’s lawyer, well-known libel solicitor Paul Tweed, told reporters outside the court he would be paid “very substantial damages” of €500,000, as well as having The Sun cover his legal costs.

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“Nothing can ever compensate me for the damage that was done to my reputation by The Sun and the trauma it caused to me, my family and close circle of friends,” Walsh said in a further statement released this lunchtime.

“Over my thirty odd years in showbusiness, I have had an excellent working relationship with the majority of journalists.

“I was therefore absolutely devastated that these allegations were published, particularly as I had made it very clear at the time to The Sun that there was not an iota of truth in them.”

In unsuccessfully defending a previous application by Walsh to have the paper turn over its records relating to the story, The Sun said it had offered Walsh the right of reply by carrying his denial of the accusations in its original story.

“Although the perpetrator has since been convicted as a result of concocting these allegations, this didn’t stop the story being spread around the world as a result of The Sun’s headlines,” Walsh noted.

“I am nonetheless glad to have achieved this decisive and categoric outcome today.”

25-year-old Leonard Watters, who made the original Garda complaint that led to The Sun’s story, was jailed in January for six months for making two false reports about the incident, which was alleged to have occurred in Krystle nightclub in April 2011.

In July Watters lost an appeal against the severity of his sentence.

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