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Legendary Scots criminal defence lawyer Joe Beltrami dies aged 83

A legendary Scottish criminal defence lawyer has died at the age of 83.

Joe Beltrami, who defended some of Scotland's most infamous criminals, retired in 2008.

He was involved in some of the country's highest profile court cases over his 50-year legal career.

The Rutherglen-born lawyer's firm paid tribute to him, saying: "It is with great sadness that we announce the passing of our founder, the legendary Mr Joseph Beltrami.

If you are considering a trip to Scotland this year then clicking on he following link will provide information particularly relevant to those looking for ##LINK~##.Sincere condolences to his family."

A statement from the Glasgow Bar Association said: "We join with other colleagues in the legal profession in mourning the death of Joe Beltrami.

"We offer sincere condolences to Joe's family Joe was well known to all who practiced at the Glasgow Bar. Funeral arrangements will follow."

Joe Beltrami with Arthur Thompson

Some of his most well-known clients were former Glasgow Godfather Arthur Thompson snr and Jimmy Boyle.

He was involved in a number of famous criminal trials in Glasgow, defending some clients who faced the death penalty.

He helped secure two Royal Pardons, one issued for Paddy Meehan, who was released in 1976 after serving seven years for a wrongful murder conviction, and the other for Maurice Swanson in 1975 when his conviction for a bank robbery was overturned.

Thomas Ross, president of the Scottish Criminal Bar Association, said: "The Scottish Criminal Bar Association is extremely sad to learn of the passing of Joseph Beltrami.

"Perhaps the first lawyer in Scotland to specialise in criminal law, he laid the path for all of us to follow.

"No counsel instructed by him failed to learn from his guidance. Known fondly as 'Big Joe', he will never be forgotten."

When recognised with a lifetime achievement award at the Law Awards of Scotland in 2008, Mr Beltrami said he had instructed in more than 350 murder cases and appeared in every court in Scotland, from Shetland to Duns.

He was also made an honorary life member of the Law Society of Scotland, the highest honour the society can bestow on a Scottish solicitor.

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