STROUD mayor John Marjoram has been told he will no longer stand trial for refusing to complete his census form.

The Crown Prosecution Service informed Mr Marjoram it was dropping the case against him due to a lack of enough evidence ‘to provide a realistic prospect of conviction.’ The Green Party councillor and Quaker appeared at Bristol Magistrates’ Court in February charged with failing to return the form – a criminal offence under the Census Act 1920.

He was joined by veteran peace activist Roger Franklin, who refused to enter a plea but was proven to have committed the offence and fined £360 plus costs, which was paid for him by supporters.

Both have strongly defended their decisions to ignore the forms in protest at its association with American arms dealer Lockheed Martin, which was awarded the government contract to gather the data.

Mr Marjoram pleaded not guilty and a trial was set for May 31 in Bristol.

Despite being advised in court that his reasons for non-compliance would not serve as a suitable defence, the CPR - acting on behalf of the Office of National Statistics (ONS), which brought the charges – recently contacted Mr Marjoram to say no further action would be taken.

"This is peculiar given that the CPS was confident enough bringing the case to court using taxpayers’ money," said Mr Marjoram.

"The evidence is the same now as it was then."

"If the court had its way an innocent man would have been convicted of an ill-founded offence."

He added that he would liked to have asked why only 400 cases were being prosecuted out of the near 750,000 instances of refusal across the UK.

Mr Franklin, who has declared his Horsley home independent of British rule, said he was pleased for Mr Marjoram and added that he would now discuss the possibility of attempting to overturn his conviction with friends.

Quakers across the Five Valleys also boycotted the forms last May, including SDC Green councillor Dr Molly Scott Cato and Martin Large, owner of Stroud publisher Hawthorn Press but no other prosecutions have been brought in the area.

Members of the religion pledge themselves to a Peace Testimony, totally opposing all association with war, including arms manufacturer Lockheed Martin.