Jail threat for man who dodged £100 restaurant bill


A barman fled a Chinese restaurant after running up a £100 food and drink bill in a “drunken, foolish escapade”, a court has heard.

Michael McMenemy was fined £150, ordered to settle the debt in full and warned he faces a fortnight in jail if he doesn’t pay up.



Belfast Magistrates’ Court was told the 30-year-old had been dining in the city’s Dragon Rendezvous on Donegall Pass with another unidentified man on January 8.

Both then sprinted from the premises, but staff who gave chase caught McMenemy and brought him back.

The defendant, with an address at Castlereagh Place, Belfast, then revealed he had no money to pay for the £100 worth of food and drink.

At one stage the case against him was to have been dealt with through financial restitution to the restaurant.

But when that failed to happen McMenemy on Tuesday pleaded guilty to a charge of making off without paying.

Describing it as an “open and shut case”, his barrister acknowledged there was no excuse for what happened.

“It’s a drunken, foolish escapade committed at an establishment which has some renown for staying open quite late,” Michael Boyd told the court.

“They ended up ordering things they ultimately couldn’t pay for and behaved in the way described.”

Raised in Scotland, the court heard McMenemy returned to his family’s native Northern Ireland and now works as a barman and waiter.

District Judge Peter King imposed a £150 fine and ordered McMenemy to pay the £100 restaurant bill in full.

The judge warned him: “There will be 20 weeks to pay that and 14 days in prison if you are in default.”