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Final Chance: 'King' of Everland on the cusp of prison

Final Chance: 'King' of Everland on the cusp of prison

Monday 25 March 2019

Final Chance: 'King' of Everland on the cusp of prison

The self-proclaimed King of Everland has been given just six weeks by the Royal Court to remove a shipping container from his small parcel of Castel or he will be sent to prison for 28 days.

Steve Ogier has been in an ongoing battle with the courts over a breach of planning laws. Mr Ogier made an undertaking - essentially a promise - to the court last October that he would not develop his land until an ongoing dispute had been resolved, but he broke that promise in January by having a shipping container moved onto the site, indicated he wanted to start work.

At the start of February this year, the Deputy Bailiff Richard McMahon found Ogier to be guilty of contempt of court, but the issuing of any punishment was adjourned until last Friday to give the man an opportunity to apologise.

In that hearing, Ogier maintained his position that he would not apologise, and also formally withdrew his undertaking. The States of Guernsey then had a planning injunction imposed, which in effect, does the same as the undertaking - legally prevents any development. 

Mr McMahon was sceptical of whether Ogier would abide by this injunction, but warned if he did not, the 'King' could be facing immediate prison time or a fine of up to £50,000. Ogier did agree to the court that he would have the container removed within the six weeks though - he said he had already tried to have it taken away, but poor weather had meant it had sunk into the mud, which needed to dry before it could be lifted by crane. If for any reason this container is still there in six weeks though, Ogier will go to Les Nicolles. 

Court Entrance

Steve Ogier is convinced he has found a loophole in the law, that allows his to declare independence. The first 'law' he passed in Everland was one to allow him to build his home on his land - that land already has two bunkers located on it. 

Ogier has been trying to claim he is now independent from Guernsey, because he has declared independence and founded a micro nation - Everland - on the Ruette du Frocq last year in May. The court has repeatedly rejected this argument on a number of grounds, including the fact that international law states a new state can only be recognised if it is acknowledged by a foreign power. Ogier has persisted with his argument, however, saying he will not "back down" until he is shown evidence he is in the wrong. 

"I am an innocent man and I am not in the wrong, your honour," he told the Deputy Bailiff.

Sir Charles Frossard House

The Deputy Bailiff advised Ogier to go through the proper planning routes and apply for permission normally. Although he may not "get what he wants", there has not been a formal refusal because an application was never made. 

Ogier made this declaration of independence because he wanted to build a house on his land. He thought he would not get planning permission to do so, after he had made some enquiries - although he never actually made an application. 

Mr McMahon made it clear to the court that Ogier had "not found a loophole" and needed to abide by the planning laws which he was breaching.

"I am satisfied that this was a wilful disregard of the undertaking that was given," he said.

"Whether or not an injunction will be a successful form of restraint is yet to be seen. [Mr Ogier] is wholly misguided in his thoughts. It really is time for a reality check." 

The States of Guernsey were also given permission to pass the costs of committal on to Mr Ogier.

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