Fringe Box



Guildford Councillor Appears at the Old Bailey and Pleads Not Guilty

Published on: 5 Dec, 2014
Updated on: 5 Dec, 2014

MJ Old BaileyGuildford Borough Councillor Monika Juneja appeared at the Old Bailey this morning (December 5) to plead not guilty to each of the eight criminal charges she now faces in connection with an allegation that she pretended to be a barrister.

At the preliminary hearing a trial date was set for May 11, 2015, just four days after the local and general elections. The trial is expected to last for seven days. Cllr Juneja was granted continued unconditional bail.

A proposal by the prosecuting counsel, Kate Wilkinson, to impose limited press restrictions was rejected by the judge, Paul Worsley QC, subject to any further representations.

Ms Juneja, 35, a Conservative ward councillor at Guildford Borough Councillor (GBC), was the lead councillor for planning. She stepped down from this position in August after she was formally charged by the police.

First elected to the council in 2011, she continues to serve as a ward councillor for Burpham and as the deputy leader of the Conservative group at GBC.

Ms Juneja, who spoke only to enter her pleas, followed the proceedings in Court 11 of the Central Criminal Court, carefully, sometimes frowning with concentration. She was seen to arrive at the Old Bailey alone. There appeared to be no relatives or supporters in the public gallery.

Apart from the charge of wilfully pretending to be a barrister, Ms Juneja faces four charges under the Fraud Act and three for, “uttering a false instrument” under the Forgery and Counterfeiting Act.

The trial has been moved away from Guildford so that jury members will be free of any prejudice that prior knowledge of the case might give, a precaution the judge agreed was advisable.

The criminal investigation by the police follows an internal GBC investigation, which did not uphold a complaint from a member of the public.

Cllr Juneja, while lead councillor for planning, was responsible for overseeing the drafting of the Local Plan for Guildford and the associated public consultation. The draft plan contained a contentious house building target and proposals to release some areas of the green belt for development.

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