A Northern Ireland man accused of animal abuse in New York, where he is facing arrest, is currently residing at his parents’ house back in Ireland.
A bench warrant was issued for Declan Garrity, 24, from Omagh, Co. Tyrone, in April 2016 when he failed to appear in a Manhattan Supreme Court to face charges of animal cruelty.
It was believed Garrity failed to appear in court because he returned to Ireland after receiving notification his visa had expired. Irish newspaper the Sunday Life have now confirmed the former Barclays banker has returned to Ireland, tracking Garrity down in Omagh last week.
The 24-year old was arrested on February 24, 2016, and charged with aggravated cruelty to animals as well as torturing and injuring animals. The arrest came after his roommate, Danielle, discovered her pet cat Lucy had received multiple unusual injuries. The Tyrone man stands accused of ripping out the cat’s nails, breaking bones in her face, pelvis, and legs and burning the animal.
The abuse is believed to have taken place over the course of three months, from the time Garrity moved into the Upper East Side apartment after answering a roommate-wanted ad on popular site Craigslist. As early as January 2016, his housemate noticed problems with the cat which Garrity claimed were a result of an iron falling on her.
He is charged with two counts of aggravated cruelty towards animals, a charge that can carry a sentence of up to four years in jail.
Although initially released on a $6,000 bail, Garrity was arrested for a second time just days after his release when he returned to his shared apartment to collect his belongings outside of the time allotted by the judge and without a police presence which was also prescribed by the court.
Released for the second time, he faced problems again in April when his bail was revoked and Justice James Burke issued a bench warrant ( a type of arrest warrant) in his name after he failed to appear in court. Contrary to claims by his lawyers that he was forced to return to Ireland because of visa issues, Assistant District Attorney Erin Satterthwaite has stated that immigration rules would not apply while Garrity was involved in a criminal case.
The Queen's University Belfast graduate had been working in the US on a visa since 2014 as a financial analyst with Barclays but has since lost his job. It is reported that it was, in fact, Barclays who paid for his flight home to Northern Ireland as part of a settlement package.
After he was fired from his position on March 4 Garrity was warned that he had a month to leave the US. According to the New York Daily News, Barclays HR office informed Garrity that: “It is your obligation to comply with the immigration regulations by either departing the U.S. or applying to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services for a change in status to another nonimmigrant visa category as soon as possible.”
"When there is a criminal case pending, there are different procedures," Satterthwaite argued, however.
"This is absolutely a willful and voluntary absence."
Garrity's defense lawyer, Telesforo Del Valle Jr, has protested that following the incident in early March when he was rearrested upon his return to the apartment, the Tyrone man wished to avoid any further violations of law.
“He doesn't want to be in violation of the law because of what happened the last time,” Del Valle said.
“He didn't want to be in a federal prison.”
An online petition calling for justice for the tortured cat and for Garrity’s conviction has more than 2,000 signatures.
Cat torture accused wanted in US refuses to say if he'll go back: A former financial analyst who fled the United… https://t.co/iXaWhe2RWK— Belfast Journal (@belfastjournal) October 10, 2016