Photographer ruled as unprofessional

Freelance photographer David Hoffman has failed to win his business dispute against MP George Galloway, after he refused to pay for blurry pictures.

Mr Galloway failed to pay Mr Hoffman his £715 fee for photographs taken at the christening of the MP's granddaughter last year, claiming that the quality of the pictures was so bad that they left a "scar on the memory" of the special occasion.

The 61-year-old photographer argued at Central London County Court that one of Mr Galloway's assistants had employed him with the brief of producing images purely to be used for public relations purposes.

Yet, Mr Galloway countered that it was "inconceivable" that he would hire a photographer not to record the event as a cherished family memento.

Judge Margaret Langley ruled that Mr Hoffman had been in breach of contract, as he had admitted that, if his pictures were taken in response to a commission to cover a family christening, "then they are inadequate, I accept that".

Outside the courthouse, Mr Galloway said: "Never can so much court time have been wasted on a vexatious claim. Mr Hoffman should be ashamed of himself. We are relying on throw-away cameras and pictures taken on mobile phones because of the inadequacy of Mr Hoffman's work."

Businesses in Britain and Northern Ireland should make sure that any contracts they undertake are clearly set out, otherwise they may face a trip to the solicitors, which could be a waste of time if they have no written contract to make up their claim.

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