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Joseph ‘Pino’ Acquaro shot dead in Melbourne Gelobar gangland killing

Who WAS slain gangland lawyer Joseph ‘Pino’ Acquaro, the gelato shop owner and father-of-three executed in cold blood on a Melbourne street? Joseph ‘Pino’ Acquaro was a prominent criminal defence lawyerHe also owned the Gelobar dessert bar on Lygon St in Melbourne Customers who saw him yesterday said he ‘did not appear disturbed at all’He was the father of three adult sons and prominent community memberMr Acquaro was reportedly aware he had a $200,000 contract on his life For the latest Melbourne news visit www.dailymail.co.uk/melbourne

Melbourne gangland killing victim Joseph ‘Pino’ Acquaro was a prominent criminal defence lawyer, an Italian community powerbroker, a father-of-three and a kind soul, friends said.

In a shock killing that brought fears of a new age of bloodshed on the city’s streets, the 55-year-old’s body was found by a garbage worker on a city footpath around 2.30am.

His death was thought to be the result of a professional hit, with court documents reportedly saying he was aware a $200,000 murder contract had been placed on his life.

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Lawyer, commmunity powerbroker and father-of-three: Friends are mourning Joseph ‘Pino’ Acquaro

Flowers mounted out the front of Gelobar on Tuesday afternoon, paying tribute to Mr Acquaro (pictured right)

Body on the concrete: Mr Acquaro was shot dead behind Gelobar on Tuesday morning

Throughout his career, Mr Acquaro represented several prominent Melbourne and Calabrian crime figures, including accused mafia boss Frank Madafferi.

Prior to his death he was representing alleged crime boss Rocco Arico, who last appeared in court on Friday facing extortion, assault, firearm and drugs charges.

Gangland lawyer shot dead in Melbourne street outside his…

Mr Acquaro had Calabrian heritage and was the president of Brunswick’s Reggio Calabria club. He was also former president of the Italian Chamber of Commerce.

For the past five years he has ran Gelobar, after the previous owner passed away.

A regular at the gelato shop, Mary Marcuccio, told Daily Mail Australia Mr Acquaro seemed in a fine mood when she popped in to get an ice cream on Monday.

‘No, not at all. He was very hospitable. We just exchanged “hi, how are you” and he just asked if there was anything else I can help you with…. He didn’t look disturbed or anything.’

Dr Dominic Barbaro, president of the Dante Alighieir Society, said he was shocked that a ‘nice guy’ who was ‘very well regarded in the Italian community’ had been killed.  

‘He was president of the [Reggio] Calabria Club for awhile, then he opened his Gelato Bar in Lygon Street.

‘I have used him a couple of times and he was very good to us and we had functions every now and then.

‘I’ve heard him speak in the past in the Italian community about how to proceed with maintaining the Italian culture and language and he was very encouraging of young people to get involved.’ 

The crime scene cordoned off with police tape on the corner of Lygon Street and St Phillip Street in Melbourne suburb Brunswick East

Mr Acquaro represented Francesco Madafferi (left) who was jailed for his connection to the importation of 4.4 tonnes of ecstasy tables hidden in tomato tins in 2007. He was also representing Rocco Arico (right), who appeared in court last Friday charged with six counts of extortion, three counts of assault, possessing a firearm, drugs, ammunition and dealing in suspected proce of crime

Mr Acquaro was a former lawyer of Francesco Madafferi, a mafia figure and drug dealer convicted of importing 4.4 tonnes of ecstasy in tomato tins in 2007

Mr Acquaro represented several prominent Melbourne gangland and Calabrian crime figures and  was also a past president of the Italian Chamber of Commerce

Rocco Careri, who has also been president of the Reggio Calabria society, said the community was ‘very upset’ it had lost a ‘very nice person’.

Mr Careri got to know him when he was the president of the Italian Chamber of Commerce and was a regular visitor to his gelato bar.

He said he often brought his family to the bar to have lunch or an ice cream and Mr Acquaro ‘always… tried to take care of you’. 

‘He was a very, very kind person. I hear the news this morning (and we are) very upset we lost a very nice person.

‘(There’s) not many people like that’.  

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