Retired judge Patrick Vella has died, members of his family confirmed on Tuesday. He was 78.

Vella was appointed judge in February 1998, after serving as magistrate for 12 years.

He became a lawyer in 1967, and obtained a magister juris in European Law in 1996.

But Vella went on to make the headlines for the wrong reasons when he was arraigned in August 2002 together with former Chief Justice Noel Arrigo.

Both were charged with accepting bribes, trading in influence and revealing official secrets in connection with a judgment handed down by the Court of Criminal Appeal, which they both presided over, against drug trafficker Mario Camilleri.

Vella confessed to reducing a 16-year jail term meted out to Camilleri to 12 years in exchange for Lm10,000 (€23,000).  

He was jailed for two years in 2007 after he pleaded guilty to accepting bribes to reduce the jail term of a drug trafficker on appeal. He went on to issue a public apology to Maltese society, declaring that he was sorry for the damage he caused to the same society. He was released in 2008.

 

 

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