A Birmingham Labour Party worker accused of helping to organise a campaign of postal vote fraud has been cleared of any wrongdoing.
Two High Court judges ruled that the election commissioner, Richard Mawrey QC, was wrong to brand Zulfiqar Khan guilty of corrupt and unlawful practices.
But 34-year-old Mr Khan still faces an estimated #10,000 bill for clearing his name after the judges refused to allow his legal costs to be met from public funds.
Mr Mawrey named Mr Khan earlier this year at an election court hearing into electoral fraud in Aston and Bordesley Green.
Six Labour councillors were barred from office. One, Mohammad Afzal, has since been cleared on appeal but is no longer a councillor.
A hearing yesterday rejected an appeal by the remaining five sacked former councillors because they had delayed too long in bringing their actions, and on the grounds that their challenges lacked any merit.
The decision means that Shafaq Ahmed, Shah Jahan and Ayaz Khan, from Bordesley Green, and Mohammed Islam and Mohammed Kazi, from Aston, remain barred from standing for the council or voting in elections.
But Lord Justice Scott Baker and Mr Justice Newman set aside the commissioner?s decision in relation to Zulfiqar Khan, saying he was not given proper statutory notice of the allegations against him and an opportunity to be heard.
Mr Mawrey received national publicity when he said electoral fraud in Birmingham would not disgrace a banana republic.
The High Court decided Mr Mawrey exceeded his powers when he found Mr Khan guilty of corrupt practice without giving him formal notice that he was ?a potential suspect? for ballot rigging.
Mr Khan was not named on the election petition and was only due to appear as a witness, said his counsel Osama Daneshyar.
Mr Mawrey had ?ignored? the mandatory requirements of election law, and Mr Khan was ?simply deprived of his right to a fair trial?.
Lawyers for the commissioner and those who launched the election petitions had argued that the sacked councillors and Mr Khan had delayed too long in bringing their applications.