Lawyer calls Ellis’ claims ‘farcical’
A lawyer for a woman involved in a long-running driveway dispute with Marc Ellis has told a judge the case against her is ‘‘farcical’’.
Briar Ross appeared at the Auckland District Court on Thursday morning where her lawyer Steve Cullen said prosecutors for Ellis were ‘‘continuing to move goal posts’’ in their claims of damage to his Waiheke Island driveway.
Ross and television personality Ellis have been embroiled in the dispute for a year, after Ross claims Ellis ‘‘ploughed through’’ land between their two driveways and built a stone wall alongside it.
Although Ellis claimed to have council consent, Ross said no permission was obtained from her, and that a land document stipulated no works were to be carried out on the shared space.
She said the driveway wall was illegal, unsafe and the stone wall crumbling.
Mid-year the argument culminated in Ross dumping soil on Ellis’ driveway and tearing down the stone wall.
He laid a complaint with police, who issued her with a trespass notice and charged her with intentional damage.
Ross pleaded not guilty to the charges. Photos presented to Judge Grant Fraser at court allegedly showed a 300mm scrape to the driveway entrance, made by the digger that dumped the soil.
Judge Fraser said he was ‘‘no expert’’ but ‘‘I’m struggling to see the evidence of damage’’.
Police prosecutor Mark Sweetman struggled to point it out, saying he had no idea what the driveway had looked like before the alleged damage occurred.
Cullen said his client was being held to ransom during mediation talks with Ellis. ‘‘He’s saying, if you apologise we’ll go away; he said say sorry and we’ll stop prosecuting. He’s got friends somewhere.’’
Judge Fraser said it was inappropriate to suggest Ellis had pulled strings within the police and suggested mediation talks continue.
The matter resumes in court next February, when police were ordered to produce evidence of the damage to the driveway.
Briar Ross, who owns 10 Alan Murray Lane, stands on the shared driveway with 12 Alan Murray Lane.
Marc Ellis and wife Agustina Mon