Daphne Byrne, of Harmonstown Rd, Artane, Dublin, told the Circuit Civil Court yesterday that wedding photographer Eoghan O’Sullivan had promised to provide her and her husband John with a CD and album.
“We never saw him again,” she told the 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.”
Amy O’Donoghue, for Ms Byrne, said that Mr O’Sullivan, of The Close, Highlands, Drogheda, Co Louth, seemed to disappear without trace and would not answer phonecalls or reply to emails.
He still maintained a website which simply referred inquiries to link after link after link.
Ms Byrne said she had got married in a civil ceremony on Jul 7 last year and arranged a reception in Bewleys Hotel. More than 30 relatives from abroad had attended 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 second wedding reception.
Mr Justice Groarke said he did not like using pejorative language, but that Mr O’Sullivan could only be described as a gangster.
“Like a puff of smoke, the man has disappeared into the ether,” said the judge.
“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.