FORMER Ledbury mayor, Bob Barnes, has strongly denied that any documents relating to the judicial review, or the process leading up to the court case, are missing from the town council offices.

And he described the finding of council documents in Ledbury Cemetery, awaiting disposal, as being "more like a Monty Python sketch" than cause for concern, although he confirmed the incident did happen.

Mr Barnes, who was one of five councillors to resign recently, was responding to claims from the chairman of Ledbury Town Council, made last week, that the town council has "started to review the paperwork on the judicial review and have found that the files stop at the end of 2015 and start again at the beginning of 2017".

Mr Barnes said: "There are no missing documents; all the minutes regarding the handling of the complaints process, and the subsequent introduction of protective measures, were presented to and approved by full council."

Concerning the documents found in the cemetery, Mr Barnes said: "All I know is that some obsolete equipment and old papers were removed from the office attics; a staff member was seen, by two citizens, taking this rubbish to the cemetery for disposal.

"So began the bizarre rumour the evidence was being destroyed by former councillors and staff; it has even been reported to the police, and a present councillor has been interviewed.

"It’s more like a Monty Python sketch than council business."

Cllr Shields was asked to respond to Mr Barnes' claims that the report of missing documents relating to the judicial review was "deliberately misleading propaganda, with the sole purpose of discrediting the character, reputation and service given by former councillors and employees."

Cllr Shields was also asked to respond to a claim, by Mr Barnes, that a "political extremist group" was now in charge of Ledbury Town Council.

Cllr Shields had not provided a response by the time of going to press.

After being accused of bullying staff, which she always denied, and after being sanctioned by the town council, Cllr Liz Harvey launched a High Court challenge and triumphed in a judicial review, brought against the town council after the sanctions were imposed and extended.

The town council had banned her for two years from sitting on any of the town council's committees or other panels.

Following the judicial review in April, the judge ruled that the town council had acted beyond its powers.

Cllr Harvey had been given no proper opportunity to respond to the accusations and the decision was also "substantively unfair".

The Code of Conduct investigation, carried out by Herefordshire Council, ruled that Cllr Harvey had not been in breach of the Code, which governs how councillors must treat others, and that includes bullying.

The judge said that Ledbury Town Council should have taken this into consideration.

The council is now facing costs reported to be in the region of £200,000.