Bankrupt couple in court over Daylesford wedding blow-out

A BANKRUPT couple who hired out the entire Daylesford Inn for four days for their wedding last year allegedly owe $45,000 to the business, a court has heard.

Margaret and George Eakins appeared together in Ballarat Magistrates Court yesterday, where the couple each face charges of obtaining financial advantage by deception.

The Eakins are alleged to have paid $7000 to the inn before the wedding, but gave two dishonoured cheques for $45,000 in the months afterwards.

Defence lawyer Richard Oakley said that although bankrupt, his clients could pay the outstanding amount within the next seven to 10 days.

He asked the court to give a sentence indication, and was told by magistrate Peter Couzens that if full restitution was made it would have a  “very significant” affect on the sentence he would give.

Mr Oakley said his clients genuinely believed that the cheques would have cleared, saying that a third party who controlled the couple’s money was in love with Mrs Eakins.

“There was a jealousy issue,” Mr Oakley said.

“There’s another story behind this, but at the end of the day my clients were adamant that they would have the money.

“Both are remorseful for the trouble this has caused.”

The court heard that Mr Eakins was the full-time carer for Mrs Eakins, who appeared in a wheelchair.

In a summary of the alleged offending, police prosecutor Senior Constable Clint Prebble said that the wedding was held on May 7, 2011, with a budget of $50,000. 

“This budget covered the cost of accommodation, catering and liquor of around 40 guests over the four day period,” he said.

He said checks by police showed Mr Eakins’ cheque account never contained more than $688 at the time the two cheques were written.

Mr Couzens said that if full restitution was made it would limit the sentencing options available.

“It’s just so crucial,” he said.

He also told the couple they should seek legal advice over their bankruptcy. 

The Eakins are due back in court on December 12.