By TONY STICKLEY
A sex-shop owner who once masqueraded as a blue-blooded prince has been jailed for stealing a yacht.
Six years ago Michael Daniel Albert Organ, who was facing a receiving charge, claimed in court to be Prince Michael Organe-Schirinski, aka Count Michael Andrassy-Organe.
He also told Judge Avinash Deobhakta that he was a holder of the Star of the Order of the Central African Empire, awarded by Jean-Bedel Bokassa in 1987.
Hearing the name, Judge Deobhakta said: "That's the person who tried to kill me," although he may have confused him with the Ugandan dictator Idi Amin.
In 1973 the judge's family had to flee Amin's murderous regime.
The judge had told Organ at an earlier hearing that he was no prince but a conman and wrote on the court file: "Prisoner to prove he is a prince and not a frog."
Organ was convicted of the receiving offence, but the Court of Appeal overturned the conviction because of Judge Deobhakta's remarks and the need for justice to be seen to be done.
Herald inquiries revealed that Organ was not of the noble lineage he claimed.
This year, in another case in the district court, Organ, 37, was convicted by a jury of using a document, theft of a yacht valued at $35,000 to $45,000, forging a contract of sale and two charges of attempting to pervert the course of justice.
His appeal against conviction and three-year sentence were this month dismissed by the Court of Appeal.
Organ ran a sex shop in Karangahape Rd but due to difficulties over the lease, including non-payment of rent, the premises was repossessed and the locks changed.
The Court of Appeal said Organ decided to take his revenge for being forced out of the shop by stealing the property owner's yacht.
He went to great lengths to forge the owner's signature and got two friends to swear affidavits that the sex shop had been swapped for the boat.
The Appeal Court said it was premeditated, sophisticated, cynical and manipulative offending to take retribution for the loss of the sex shop.
The judges described it as an elaborate and calculated plan.
"Not only did he have witnesses swear false affidavits, he involved them in his Machinations," said Justice John Hansen.
The only mitigating features were Organ's lack of previous convictions and his psychological problems.
By TONY STICKLEY