It has still been beset with problems, but it is a start.
When I met with Joe’s family, it was clear that they had done all that had been asked of them.
In return, all they asked was for the trial to start. I pressed the Foreign Office to act and help the family.
Joe’s family have been tireless in trying to find out what happened and seeking justice.
But without the support of Northumbria Police and Sunderland coroner Derek Winter, there would not even be a trial.
They have done everything they possibly can to get answers for the family and they deserve the highest praise available.
The pain of losing a loved one in such circumstances is unimaginable.
I hope that the trial can conclude and that it brings some comfort to the family so they can grieve properly for Joe.
The Echo’s Justice for Joe campaign has drawn attention to the family’s struggle and put pressure on the Foreign Office.
This shows just how important our local newspapers can be.
This article was originally published by The Sunderland Echo on 13th June 2012: http://www.sunderlandecho.com/lifestyle/columnists/bridget-phillipson-u-turn-after-u-turn-1-4618940