A prominent businessman has told the Nelson Environment Court he did not instruct an arborist to fell 110 trees on council reserve land next to his Kaiteriteri property.
Michael John Davies from Arrowtown, whose family own the major tourism and transport firm Trojan Holdings, says he did not approve the work carried out in February 2012.
Mr Davies is facing two charges under the Reserves Act and the Resource Management Act.
He says when he returned from an overseas trip, he was "horrified" to see the clearance work that had taken place on Anarewa Point.
The area is part of the Stephens Bay headland managed by Tasman District Council.
Prosecutor Julian Ironside accused Mr Davies of "crocodile tears" when it was revealed that he had continued to pay his landscaper and arborist after the trees were cleared.
The case is continuing.