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Former Councillor Receives Suspended Sentence at the Old Bailey

Published on: 15 Jun, 2015
Updated on: 19 Jun, 2015
Former councillor, Monika Juneja in her councillor's robe in 2014.

Former councillor, Monika Juneja in her councillor’s robe in 2014.

Former Conservative borough councillor Monika Juneja, who last month pleaded guilty to three counts of forgery, and one each of deception and pretending to be a barrister, received a suspended sentence this morning at the Old Bailey.

She was sentenced to 18 months reduced to 14 months for each of five charges to sentences to run concurrently but suspended for two years and 200 hours community service to be served within 12 months plus payment of victim surcharge.

This morning Cllr Caroline Reeves (Lib Dem, Friary & St Nicolas) and leader of the opposition at Guildford Borough Councillor said: “Some people seem to think that we will be enjoying the spectacle of this sorry saga… far from it, the council as a whole has been tarnished.

“Other important work done for the whole borough by councillors and officers is forgotten while people are distracted by this issue.

“The work on our Local Plan has been tainted and we must now work very hard to regain credibility while we produce a viable plan that is right for the borough of Guildford.”

Cllr Angela Gunning (Lab, Stoke) said: “Forgery and deception are very serious crimes in my view. However, the sentence has been passed. I greatly regret the damage this episode has done to the council’s reputation.

“I shall be interested to know what the community [service] hours will be spent on; who monitors such activity?”

See also: Former Councillor Monika Juneja Pleads Guilty To Forgery and ‘Barrister’ Pretence

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Responses to Former Councillor Receives Suspended Sentence at the Old Bailey

  1. Jim Allen Reply

    June 15, 2015 at 12:01 pm

    Oh How I would like to say something!

  2. Valerie Thompson Reply

    June 15, 2015 at 2:01 pm

    Monika has got off lightly. Perhaps she will now keep out of politics for a while.

  3. David Roberts Reply

    June 15, 2015 at 6:30 pm

    I was one of those in court for sentencing.

    The sentence is 14 months (out of a maximum of 18 months as reported) for each of the five charges, to be served concurrently but suspended for two years, plus 200 hours community service to be served in the next 12 months (which I hope is not in Guildford, let alone for Guildford Council!) and the cost of the new victim surcharge.

    Juneja is lucky not to go to jail, but this sentence may influence her longer than a short jail term, especially as the judge ordered three additional charges (of fraud) to remain on file, which can be brought against her if necessary.

    It will be some time (five years perhaps?) after the two years are up before her conviction is “spent” and her criminal record expunged.

    Some points of interest from the judge’s summing up:

    This was a “highly unusual” case; his comments were correspondingly nuanced but focused narrowly on her deceit and forgeries rather than her breach of public trust.

    He accepted her QC’s argument that she had been motivated more by status than money (although this cannot be verified) and accepted her last-minute guilty plea as a “partial mitigation”. He did not accept the defence argument that her offences did not cross the “custody threshold”.

    In passing he noted she had breached the councillors’ code of conduct – contrary to what the council’s “independent investigator” (Robin Hooper) found.

    She had “lived a lie for 14 years” and her “career in public life is over”. Inshallah.

  4. Nick Jones Reply

    June 15, 2015 at 7:56 pm

    I am pleased that she didn’t get locked up. A appropriate judgement in my humble opinion.

  5. Peta Malthouse Reply

    June 16, 2015 at 4:35 pm

    How sad that Dr Hooper did not conduct a sufficiently robust investigation in the first place. If he had Guildford Borough Council and the trusting public, who have relied upon Ms Juneja’s guidance, would not have been so badly served.

    The police had wider investigatory powers only in respect of Ms Juneja’s previous employment but, as a serving councillor, it should not have been difficult to insist on the production of original documents.

    The Nolan principles require councillors to be open in all their dealings. Many people pass law exams but it does not make them fit to practice law, advise upon it, nor entitle them to call themselves a barrister.

    Immediately the information from the Bar Council was known, evidence of a crime was established and Dr Hooper should have made more appropriate recommendations. How were his recommendations considered? Doesn’t Guildford Borough Council employ solicitors any more?

    Any one of them should have been able to advise on this. I am afraid that the recommendation of Dr Hooper appears to have been received with relief rather that subjected to appropriate consideration.

    The judge was, in my view, very kind.

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