Joseph (Joe) Beltrami

1932 - 2015

Defence lawyer. Born in Rutherglen, the son of a Swiss father and Scottish mother, Beltrami was brought up in Glasgow and educated at St. Aloysius College and the University of Glasgow. Following National Service, he qualified as a solicitor in 1956. During his career, he has appeared for the defence in more than 500 murder trials and a number of high-profile cases involving, for example, safe-breaker Johnny Ramensky (1905-72), murderer Jimmy Boyle (b.1944) and Glasgow gangster Arthur Thompson (1931-93). Two of his cases led to the only Royal Pardons granted in Scotland in the 20th century; namely that of Patrick Meehan (1928-94), falsely accused of murder, and Maurice Swanson, wrongly convicted for a bank robbery. In 1980, he acted for wrestler Andy Robin, who was accused of failing keep a wild animal under control when his bear, Hercules, escaped in 1980. Beltrami successfully argued the bear was not wild. In 1993, Beltrami became the first Solicitor-Advocate to plead in the Court of Criminal Appeal. He has published several books including The Defender (1980), Tales of the Suspected (1988) and A Deadly Innocence (1989). An enthusiastic supporter of Celtic Football Club, Beltrami has chaired the testimonial committees for players including Jimmy Johnstone (1976), Bobby Lennox (1976) and Danny McGrain (1980).

He died in Glasgow. His funeral took place in St. Aloysius' Church in Garnethill, with a eulogy read by his friend and colleague Donald Findlay QC (b. 1951).

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