Nov 19 2012 By Ian Proctor
A HARROW councillor charged with "serious" fraud dramatically changed his plea to guilty.
Councillor David Gawn, of Lankers Drive, South Harrow, initially denied the charge - a substitute for an earlier charge of attempted theft - and was due to stand trial this afternoon at Harrow Crown Court.
But following a break in the hearing and a discussion with his barrister Oliver Reston, the 35-year-old returned to court to admit the offence.
No details of the crime were aired but the wording of the charge specifies that between July 25 and August 1 2011 Gawn posted a £7,000 cheque in the name of victim Dennis O'Brien to a bank employee called Stephen Coventry at Lloyds TSB. It is said he "dishonestly and intentionally made a representation which was untrue or misleading".
Gawn will be sentenced at the same court on December 20 and was granted conditional bail until then.
Judge Alan Greenwood said: "I'm sure you appreciate this is a serious offence. I'm expressly asking that the pre-sentence report deal with the all options available to the court in your case."
Gawn, a fellow of the Royal Society of Arts and a director of Community Arts Media, was first elected to Harrow Council in May 2006 for Marlborough ward before successfully seeking election to Harrow on the Hill ward at the 2010 Local Elections.
A Harrow Council spokesman said: "Councillor David Gawn will remain as a councillor subject to sentencing. If a councillor receives a sentence of three months imprisonment or more - suspended or otherwise - he will be disqualified as a councillor subject to any appeal against sentence."
A Labour Party spokeswoman said: "We will wait for sentencing on 20 December before deciding on the next step, but it is very likely that he will be referred to the party's National Constitutional Committee, which will determine future disciplinary action."