An American citizen remanded in custody over what he claims is “a misunderstanding” has sacked his third lawyer in less than a week and continues to refuse to accept proposed bail conditions.
Matthew Wolf (45), who resides Switzerland, is charged with misusing a communications network to cause a female anxiety on January 31 and February 1.
During an appearance at Dungannon Magistrates’ Court last week, he dismissed his lawyer halfway through proceedings, having sacked a different representative the previous day.
The court heard he met the complainant in Belfast and they exchanged phone numbers, agreeing to meet the following day near her Moy home, but she changed her mind saying they should “part ways”.
The court heard enquiries into a more serious matter involving the same complainant are ongoing.
Deputy District Judge Sean O’Hare enquired if Wolf had reconsidered the bail terms but he replied surrendering his passport “is not acceptable to me. I would like to leave the UK. If there’s a hearing, I would of course come back. I have a lot to lose if I do not clear my name”.
A ban contacting the complainant was opposed as “I did no injury to her. If I could talk to her we could solve this. I also object to exclusion from Moy”.
He deemed a prohibition on consuming alcohol in public “unreasonable”.
Wolf advised: “I’m an American citizen from New York and the grandson of Holocaust survivors. I expected prison to be like Auschwitz but it’s not so bad. I will stay here to clear my good name”.
He said he is married to “Olympic rower Sarah Garner and we have two children.. We are pursuing a slightly acrimonious separation … she wanted me to play house. I didn’t want that”.
He contended: “I am a partner in a $2trillion investment group – the largest in the world. My life went out of order. I am trying to focus on work, family, me and above all, God. I am Jewish man who married a Catholic woman with a Protestant father. Our children started as Jewish and among many compromises they are now Catholic. I have found Jesus. I am a Jew who believes in Jesus and his message. But I don’t want to invoke religion too much.”
Wolf arrived in Belfast a few weeks ago with a female filmmaker as part of an “Eat, Pray, Love journey.”
They spent a “very nice evening” in the Merchant Hotel and after she left he met the complainant.
“This is a big misunderstanding,” he said. “We spent a bunch of time together which was pleasant. She had a lot to drink. I did not. She did not remember the events in the hotel. I did and I am happy to recount them for the court and her.”
He described travelling from Belfast to Moy and along the way “I messaged telling her I would pray for the next chapter of my life. I suggested meeting in Moy but she didn’t show. She is a lovely woman, very smart and unmarried. I thought she may be my next wife. I messaged saying I’m a humble man and no Prince Charming. The next day she reported me to police.”
Judge O’Hare responded: “You are not a suitable candidate at this time. You oppose bail conditions. There can be no contact with the complainant and it would be totally inappropriate.”
The matter will be reviewed later this month.