Sensitive financial documents a former Dorset councillor and George Town mayor gave to a newspaper were not marked private or confidential, a court has heard.
Lawrence Archer, 69, of Bridport, is accused of illegally giving the North Eastern Advertiser a profit and loss statement and operational budget document in 2017.
The information related to the Aminya aged care facility at Scottsdale, which the court heard was running at a financial loss and being propped up by Dorset Council.
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Legal action against Mr Archer was launched by the Local Government Division of the Department of the Premier and Cabinet. He has pleaded not guilty to a charge of illegally disclosing the information.
Dorset mayor Greg Howard, general manager Tim Watson and former deputy mayor Max Hall were called to give evidence at a hearing in Launceston Magistrates Court on Thursday.
Councillor Howard said the editor of the North Eastern Advertiser showed him financial documents which he suggested she should not have had access to.
"They'd been presented to us at a closed session of the council," Cr Howard told the court.
When Mr Watson took to the stand, he told the court some documents circulated at workshops for councillors and staff had not been marked confidential in the past.
"It's an accepted practice that workshops are confidential," Mr Watson said before he added confidential documents were now always marked confidential.
Mr Hall told the court he previously ran a bakery and spoke often with Mr Archer.
"We used to have our own private little meetings there at times," Mr Hall told the court.
"He [Mr Archer] did say he made some comments to the paper about Aminya."
In an interview with Local Government Division investigators, Mr Archer admitted he gave documents to the the newspaper.
He said the documents had been circulated to multiple audiences, including to councillors for consideration in a closed meeting where discussions had to be kept secret from the public.
Mr Shaw claimed the documents were not marked private or confidential.
"I maintain that all the information I gave is available elsewhere and specifically to an incorporated association called North-East Care, which has 100 members of the public," he said.
Earlier in the hearing, Mr Watson explained that NE Care was an incorporated charitable association set up and primarily funded by Dorset Council to pay aged care provider May Shaw - the organisation which operated Aminya - for the losses it incurred each month.
Mr Shaw said NE Care also "did some fundraising" and spent more about $50,000 raised on "plant and equipment". The organisation has since been disbanded.
Magistrate Ken Stanton made no judgement and adjourned the case to April 2, when further written sentencing submissions will be considered.