A Launceston magistrate has chosen not to convict deputy mayor Rob Soward, despite the 48-year-old pleading guilty to harassing a woman.
Magistrate Simon Brown formally dismissed the charge against Mr Soward on Friday afternoon.
He described Mr Soward as being a “man of good character” who had made a “silly lapse” in judgment.
Mr Brown said Mr Soward’s reputation had been damaged and he would “feel the consequences no matter what this court does”.
“I accept the defendant is highly unlikely to ever re-offend,” Mr Brown said.
Mr Soward was not convicted, but was ordered to pay $65.10 in court costs.
Launceston mayor Albert van Zetten issued a statement after the decision.
"Following the dismissal of the charges by the magistrate, we now consider this to be a private matter for Alderman Soward,” he said.
"This has been an extremely regrettable situation for everyone involved."
Launceston’s deputy mayor has admitted he was “childish, immature and silly” when he used the internet to harass a woman, a court has heard.
Robert Ian Soward, 48, pleaded guilty in the Launceston Magistrates Court on Friday morning, after being charged with using a carriage service to harass.
The court heard Mr Soward was “retaliating” when he used a woman’s contact details to seek information about various cosmetic procedures online.
Mr Soward’s lawyer, Tim Ellis, said his client thought the victim had done the same thing to him and it was a form of “payback”.
The woman received more than 100 “unwanted communications” from businesses including cosmetic surgeries over 39 days last year.
They included emails with information about liposuction, weight loss and sexually transmitted infections.
One email revealed Mr Soward had contacted the business on the woman’s behalf and said “I am about 50 kilos overweight according to doctor … I need a few tips”.
Another said “I carry a lot of fat on my neck” and sought information about double chin procedures.
Mr Ellis said Mr Soward was friends with the woman and at one point, their relationship became “more intimate”.
He said after the pair had a falling out, Mr Soward began receiving similar communications, forcing him to block more than 550 email addresses.
“It was his belief … he was retaliating,” Mr Ellis said.
The court heard the woman denied the allegation, but police did not pursue the matter further.
Pushing for a non-conviction, Mr Ellis said Mr Soward had been publicly “vilified” over the charges and would continue to be the subject of “nasty attacks” whether he was convicted or not.
Magistrate Simon Brown stood the matter down until 4pm when it is expected Mr Soward will be sentenced.
The charge carries a maximum penalty of 12 months in prison and a fine of up to $10,800.