1. ITV Report

X Factor judge Louis Walsh 'vindicated' after settlement over libel case

X Factor judge Louis Walsh (centre) on his way into court with his legal team solicitor Paul Tweed (right) and Gavin Bonner (left) Photo: Julien Behal/PA Wire

X Factor judge Louis Walsh is has reached a £403,500 settlement with the publisher of The Sun after it wrongly reported that he was being investigated over an alleged sexual assault.

Walsh sued the newspaper over a story published in June 2011 based on a false allegation that he sexually assaulted a man in a Dublin nightclub.

It carried the headline: "Louis Probed Over 'Sex Attack' on Man in Loo".

Louis Walsh greets the press after his case at Dublin High Court Credit: Julien Behal/PA Wire

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

Speaking outside Dublin High Court, Walsh said he was satisfied to have been vindicated but still "very angry" at the way he had been treated by The Sun:

An apology was read out on behalf of News Group Newspapers - part of Rupert Murdoch's News Corporation - during the court hearing:

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.

– News Group Newspapers statement
X Factor judge Louis Walsh outside court after his defamation case Credit: Julien Behal/PA Wire

Walsh's lawyer Paul Tweed confirmed his client would be paid damages of 500,000 euros (£403,500) along with his legal costs.

"This headline story should never have been published," Mr Tweed said.

He added: "This is a prime example of the serious damage that can be inflicted on an individual, whether they are well known or not, by the publication of totally unfounded allegations which, in the age of the internet, can circumnavigate the globe in a matter of seconds."

Louis Walsh on his way into court today Credit: Julien Behal/PA Wire

Lawyers for Walsh claimed a crime writer with the Irish edition of The Sun, Joanne McElgunn, offered Watters money if he agreed to file a police complaint about being assaulted.

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

The newspaper accepted the accusation against Walsh was false but initially denied defamation, saying that it had acted fairly as the story was based on police inquiries.

News Group Newspapers is owned by Rupert Murdoch.