A former judge facing a criminal charge told a policeman his integrity would outweigh that of a man who said he had seen him intentionally damaging a car, a court was told today.

The police allege Michael Lance, 73, used a car key to intentionally damage a Volkswagen Golf blocking the entrance to his apartment building in Browns Bay on Auckland's North Shore a year ago.

In a defended hearing in the North Shore District Court today before Invercargill judge Kevin Phillips, Constable Lyndon Large said he was told by a diner at a nearby restaurant he had seen Lance "key' the Volkswagen.

When he told Lance he thought that was a stupid and immature thing to do, Lance denied he had damaged the car.

"He said `I didn't do that.' He said `I'm a judge, I wouldn't do that and my integrity would outdo that man's'," Constable Large told the court.

David Burn told the court that as he had lunch at a nearby restaurant, he saw Lance use his car keys to damage the Volkswagen.

"That is completely denied," Lance's lawyer John Haigh, QC, told the court.

He said Lance accepted he ran his hand down over the scratches but did not cause them, Mr Haigh said.

He said the police evidence related to only two scratches but there were 20 on the car.

When asked by Judge Phillips if the police case related to two scratches or 20, police prosecutor Sergeant Mike Morgan conferred with a colleague and said the police case related to all 20 scratches.

In evidence Mr Burn said when he saw Lance move his hand up and down and damage the car with his keys Constable Large was speaking to a tow truck driver. Mr Burn approached Constable Large and told him what he had seen.

Constable Large told the court when he was flagged down by two men, he noticed a lot of visible key marks on all the car's panels.

As he spoke to the tow truck driver who was trying to get into the car to tow it away, Lance was standing on the passenger side of the car.

The hearing is expected to continue for most of tomorrow.

- NZPA