A BRIDE broke down in tears as she told a judge how a photographer she paid to record the most special occasion of her life took the money and the pictures and ran.
Daphne Byrne, of Harmonstown Road, Artane, Dublin, told the Circuit Civil Court today that wedding photographer Eoghan O’Sullivan had promised to provide her and her husband, John, with a cd rom disc and album.
“We never saw him again,” she told Circuit Court President, Mr Justice Raymond Groarke. “We got one of two snaps that were disgraceful. In one of them I looked as if I had no teeth.”
Barrister Amy O’Donoghue, counsel for Daphne, said O’Sullivan, of The Close, Highlands, Drogheda, Co Louth, seemed to disappear without trace and would not answer phone calls or reply to e-mails.
He still maintained a website which, when clicked on, simply referred inquiries to link after link after link.
Ms Byrne said she and John had got married in a civil ceremony on July 7th last year and arranged a reception in Bewleys Hotel. More than 30 relatives from abroad had attended the wedding and she did not have a single picture of any of them, let alone one with her husband.
She had paid O’Sullivan €680 up front and now had to plan a small family “wedding party” where some pictures of the couple’s lost big day could be staged. Many of the guests who had travelled from abroad could not afford to attend again.
Ms O’Donoghue told the court it had been estimated that between €700 and €1,000 would be required to have proper professional pictures taken at the planned wedding reception number two.
Judge Groarke said he did not like using pejorative language but Mr O’Sullivan could only be described as a gangster.
“Like a puff of smoke the man has disappeared into the ether,” Judge Groarke said. “Whatever went wrong he has singularly failed to communicate with Ms Byrne and her husband or come forward and explain himself or seek to remedy matters.”
He said it was difficult to assess damages for emotion and stress and to compensate for the loss Ms Byrne suffered after the photographer she had hired had turned out to be a fraud.
The judge awarded Ms Byrne €680 special damages and €7,000 damages for upset, distress, loss and inconvenience.
Following the court hearing John Byrne said there would have been no court case if Mr O’Sullivan had faced up to his responsibilities.
By Ray Managh