A TOP Solihull Conservative councillor denied sexually assaulting a 16-year-old girl when he appeared in court on Tuesday.
Councillor Ian Hillas who is a former deputy leader of Solihull Council appeared before Warley Magistrates after he was arrested by police on Monday.
The 42-year-old from Oakwood Croft, Solihull, who represents the Castle Bromwich ward pleaded not guilty to one charge of sexual assault.
The alleged offence happened at an address in Cradley Heath at 4am on May 17.
Councillor Hillas was released on conditional bail but banned from entering the south of Sandwell and Cradley Heath, as well as having no contact with two witnesses and the alleged victim who cannot be named for legal reasons.
He elected for trial at a crown court as the case was adjourned until July 28.
In his ward of Castle Bromwich he supports the Richard Knight Charity which maintains the upkeep of the nearby St Mary and St Margaret’s Parish Church.
Councillor Hillas is also chairman of both the Overview and Scrutiny Management Board and the Call In Committee.
The Conservative councillor is not due for re-election until May 2011 however his future in local government remains increasingly unclear.
Local authorities do not have the power to suspend a councillor but the Conservative Councillors’ Association can.
A spokeswoman for Solihull Council explained councillors sign up to a statutory code of conduct when they are elected.
If a complaint is made to the standards committee they then decide whether to investigate those complaints and subsequently hold a hearing.
From there the standards committee can suspend a councillor for up to six months.
If they feel the punishment should be greater, they can refer that decision to the Standards Board for England who can disqualify a person from being a councillor.