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Last chance: Independent 'King' on the cusp of prison

Last chance: Independent 'King' on the cusp of prison

Monday 23 September 2019

Last chance: Independent 'King' on the cusp of prison

The self-proclaimed King of Everland has been given two weeks by Guernsey's Court to go away and remove a truck body from the parcel of land he owns in the Castel, or he may well be sent to prison.

The States of Guernsey have applied to have Steve Ogier, who has tried to claim independence from Guernsey because he disagreed with the planning laws, committed to prison.

This is because he has previously breached rules, set by the Development & Planning Authority, and enforced by the Court, which meant he could not develop his land for residential use. 

During previous hearings, Mr Ogier found himself on the cusp of prison after he refused to remove a shipping container from the land. When it came down to the last second, he did get it moved though. 

During those hearings, Mr Ogier admitted he had been living on the land, which was a material breach of planning laws because the site is categorised as agricultural land. It has since been seen that he is living in a converted truck body there, and while Planning have asked Mr Ogier to remove the make-shift home, he has refused to respond. 

The States also did not want to exercise its powers to forcibly remove the truck from the land because of concerns that action could breach Mr Ogier's human right to have shelter to live in. 

court entrance

'King Steve' only gave a brief statement to the court on Friday, where he reiterated his stance that he felt Guernsey's Court had no jurisdiction over Everland, and he still wants to be proven otherwise. The Deputy Bailiff then reiterated his stance - that it has been proven, and ruled on, that this argument did not stand, and if Mr Ogier wants to pursue it further he would have to go to the Court of Appeal. 

The matter was back before the Court on Friday, where Deputy Bailiff Richard McMahon was asked by the States' lawyer to have Mr Ogier committed to prison because he has been in contempt of court. Mr Ogier declined to ask for an adjournment to get legal advice, and also did not want to give evidence, which left Deputy Bailiff McMahon with an affidavit from planning as the only evidence he had. That affidavit said it was clear Mr Ogier was living on the land because of pictures of the truck body, quotes from Mr Ogier in Court, and posts he had made on Facebook.

At first, the Deputy Bailiff tried to give Mr Ogier two weeks to go away and remove the vehicle which was putting him in breach of planning laws. He agreed to do this as long as Planning 'left him in peace', but when the department pointed out that it has a number of outstanding compliance notices to deal with, Mr Ogier changed his mind. 

Guernsey flag

Steve Ogier originally created Everland because he was frustrated by planning laws, but it has since been argued in Court he would need recognition from a foreign nation to have legitimate independence. 

Mr McMahon took some time to consider the application, but decided he wanted more evidence to prove there had been a change of use on the land. This argument came down to the definition of 'domicile', which did not appear to include vehicles like the truck body Mr Ogier was living in. The matter now had to be proved to a criminal standard of proof.

The Deputy Bailiff has adjourned the matter for two weeks, but told Mr Ogier he could then go to prison. He added that if Mr Ogier removes the truck body in the meantime, it was unlikely the application would be pursued. 

The matter will conclude in Court on the 7 October. 

Pictured top: Steve Ogier inset over his parcel of land in the Castel. 

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