30th August 2017

Misconduct hearing into Insp Justin French
Avon and Somerset Police Headquarters
Valley Road, Portishead, BS20 8QJ
5 – 8 September

Journalists must register interest in advance to attend. The form to do so can be found here.

Inspector Justin French of Avon and Somerset Constabulary will face a gross misconduct hearing concerning the death of 25 year old James Herbert. The hearing will take place in public at the Avon and Somerset Police Headquarters.  A publicity notice from the Force and details of the venue can be found here.

James Herbert died on 10 June 2010 following his detention by officers under section 136 of the Mental Health Act 1983.  He was restrained by officers and members of the public and driven 30 miles in handcuffs and two lots of leg restraints to Yeovil Police Station.  He was removed unresponsive from the police van and transferred to a police cell. An ambulance was called and James was transferred to hospital where he was later pronounced dead.

The inquest into James Herbert’s death concluded in April 2013 and found serious failings. Full information on the conclusions of the inquest can be found here.

The misconduct proceedings follow a reinvestigation into James Herbert’s death following evidence brought to light at the inquest hearing.  Inspector French (acting Inspector at the time) faces allegations of gross misconduct concerning his actions and his account of events following James’s death, including in his evidence to the inquest. 

Following the misconduct hearing, in late September, the IPCC will be releasing a report called ‘6 Missed Chances’, discussing 6 missed opportunities which could have saved James’ life. Details to follow.


For further information and interview requests, please contact Lucy McKay on 020 7263 1111 or [email protected]

INQUEST has been working with the family of James Herbert since his death. The family is represented by INQUEST Lawyers Group members Kate Maynard of Hickman and Rose solicitors and Alison Gerry of Doughty Street Chambers.

  • Other upcoming cases involving police related deaths include:
    - Three police officers will stand trial at Birmingham Crown Court, facing charges of perjury and perverting the course of justice in relation to the death of Kingsley Burrell on 11 September.
    - The inquest of Joseph Phuong, who suffered from mental ill health and died following police contact in June 2015 will open at the Royal Courts of Justice, London on 4 September.