Jazz singer Briar Ross has upped the tempo in her long-running Waiheke property dispute with entrepreneur and former All Black Marc Ellis.

Ross today said her lawyers served a dispute notice on Ellis, and she claimed some of his planned buildings were in breach of local planning covenants.

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Ross is being prosecuted after allegedly dumping rocks on the rugby star's land.


She appeared in Auckland District Court on Friday where her lawyer said it was completely "inappropriate" for police to be prosecuting the matter.

"Friday's hearing was the first stage in my defence of the police charge that I intentionally damaged Mr Ellis' land by removing the scoria driveway and boulder retaining wall he had constructed on land jointly owned by me and other landowners at Matiatia Estate..." Ross said today.

"He built the driveway on our jointly-owned land without obtaining the consent of the other owners as required under the Transfer Documents attaching to the original subdivision," she added in a statement to NZME News Service.

Former All Black, TV and radio personality Marc Ellis. Photo / Dean Purcell
Former All Black, TV and radio personality Marc Ellis. Photo / Dean Purcell

Ross said she was glad the legal process was underway, and she was "very grateful" for support she had received from many people.

The singer said she had found herself in an "unfortunate situation" that had been forced on her.

She claimed some buildings on Ellis' land were "much higher than permitted", pierced the ridge line, and were clearly visible from the ferry approaching Matiatia.

Ellis today declined to comment publicly on the issue, a position he said he had maintained throughout the dispute.

Last year, he told the Herald Ross was clutching at straws about the driveway dispute and it was a matter for lawyers to resolve.


"Somewhat unusually, police are litigating a civil dispute on behalf of a prominent businessman and sportsman," Ross' lawyer Alex Witten said at yesterday's court hearing.

The lawyer advanced another potential defence for his client.

"Even if the damage was caused to his driveway she believed what she was doing was correct," he said.

But the judge was unimpressed.

"Good luck with that one, Mr Witten-Hannah," he said.

Judge Nevin Dawson said it appeared there was council consent for the building work but the defence lawyer said that might be disputed.

The court also heard how the alleged area of damage to the land was about 1sq m in size.
Ross sent Ellis a legal letter last winter trying to stop construction work.