Bristol

Maria Voisin is selected as new coroner for Avon

The acting coroner for Avon, Maria Voisin, has been appointed in the role full time following the dismissal of Paul Forrest.

In February, two judges upheld a decision to remove Mr Forrest from office following a row between him and Bristol City Council.

A recruitment process held in 2010 selected Ms Voisin but her appointment was held up by Mr Forrest's appeal.

Ms Voisin said she was "very honoured" to become the area's coroner.

Bristol City Council's chief executive Jan Ormondroyd said she hoped Ms Voisin would "take the service forward effectively".

Mr Forrest, who also holds office as an immigration judge, had been fighting to retain his post.

Changed employer

Problems began for Mr Forrest, who was appointed coroner for Avon in July 1992, when the county was abolished in 1996.

He continued in office, but Bristol City Council took over from Avon County Council as employers of his staff.

He became embroiled in a long-running dispute with the city council's head of legal services, Stephen McNamara, over the extent of his control over his office, staff and expenditure.

In July 2005, there was a dispute over the submission of a bid to the Home Office to fund a new forensic mortuary at Flax Bourton, which ultimately failed.

Mr Forrest blamed the city council for this, claiming it had "failed to competently pursue a necessary application for planning permission".

Disciplinary proceedings against him began in January 2007 and, in August 2008, an investigating judge concluded the coroner was guilty of "serious misconduct" and recommended his removal from office.

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