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Friday 22 November 2019

Woman accused of planting insects in her chips gets €10k

Denise Melia leaving court
Denise Melia leaving court

A Dublin woman who claimed she was blamed for deliberately putting insects in takeaway meals she had bought has been awarded €10,000 in damages in the Circuit Civil Court for defamation of character.

Denise Melia (30), of Lanesborough Court, Finglas, told Circuit Court President Mr Justice Raymond Groarke that when she and her then partner Keith May returned to Macari's Takeaway in Meakstown Shopping Centre, Finglas, she was told: "You put that in there yourself."

Nauseous

Ms Melia said she had found a dead daddy long-legs in one box of food and part of the leg of a daddy long-legs in a second box.

Both boxes, bought at the shop on September 29, 2016, contained chips and other items of food.

She alleged in a €75,000 claim for defamation of character that she had become nauseous after starting to eat the food and finding the insect and insect pieces.

She and her partner had immediately returned to Mac- ari's Takeaway, where she had been told: "You put that in there yourself."

Ms Melia and Mr May denied Mr May had become aggressive in the takeaway or that he had thrown one box of the food over Constantine Ionas, who had served them earlier.

Counsel for the defendants, Benny and Antonia Macari, who trade as Macari's Take- away, told Ms Melia it would be the evidence of two staff of the shop that Mr May had become aggressive, had been loud and had used bad language.

Mr Ionas, who had dealt with the couple on the night, denied Ms Melia had been accused of putting insects into the boxes.

In cross-examination by Pat Purcell, counsel for Ms Melia, Mr Ionas denied he had smirked and laughed at the couple when they had returned with the food boxes to the store.

Judge Groarke said he had seen Mr Ionas smirking in court while Ms Melia was giving her evidence, telling him: "I saw it."

Awarding Ms Melia €10,000 damages, the judge said he had found Ms Melia to be an impressive and compellingly honest witness.

The judge said he accepted Ms Melia's evidence that a clearly defamatory observation had been made by Mr Ionas when there were other customers in the shop.

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