‘Not an act of revenge’: Crown and defense make closing arguments in roadside stabbing murder trial

A man accused of the stabbing murder of another man has denied acting out of revenge after a Father’s Day brawl outside a mall, and his legal team urged the jury not to rule out self-defense.

An attorney for Alex Robert Smart, who is charged with the 2019 Father’s Day murder of Tylor Bell, told a Supreme Court jury Monday that his client’s actions could not be viewed in a vacuum as Smart had been verbally attacked and accosted by Mr. Bell and his father earlier that day, leaving him “afraid” of anything else the couple might do.

Smart, 29, has pleaded not guilty to murder.

camera iconGympie, father of five, Tylor Bell, died of fatal stab wounds inflicted on September 1, 2019. Credit: News Regional Media

Throughout the trial, the jury was told that Tylor Bell died after being stabbed on the Bruce Highway in Gympie, north of Brisbane, on September 1, 2019.

Earlier that day, Mr. Smart and Gregory Bell, Tylor’s father, had been involved in a verbal and physical dispute outside a nearby shopping mall.

The Bells then left the center and Smart followed them in a car with two others until they all stopped at the intersection of Bruce Highway and Monkland St, where the fatal attack unfolded.

In his closing argument, Jakub Lodziak, Smart’s attorney, said his client did not start the altercation at the mall and did not intentionally follow the Bells’ car down the road.

The court was told that two women in the car with Mr. Smart at the time gave evidence that they saw Tylor Bell get out of his ute while yelling insults before approaching the silver vehicle.

Alex Robert Smart has pleaded not guilty to the murder of Tylor Bell.  Facebook
camera iconAlex Robert Smart has pleaded not guilty to the murder of Tylor Bell. Facebook Credit: News Regional Media

Lodziak told the jury that they could not rule out self-defense in this case.

“Is it surprising that Alex Smart is scared or worried about what they (the Bells) might do?” Lodziak asked.

“He only did what he did because of what followed at the traffic light at Café Tucán… because there were more relevant behaviors and words of the deceased at that intersection.

“And in his already heightened state, with what happened earlier fresh in his mind, Mr. Smart reacted to that.”

Lodziak said that Tylor Bell had been armed with a metal implement at the mall and there was evidence that he was also armed when the vehicles stopped on the road.

The court was told that “this was not an act of revenge.”

During their closing argument, Smart's (pictured) lawyers denied the act was revenge after a fight with Tylor Bell's father outside a Gympie mall.
camera iconDuring their closing argument, Smart’s (pictured) lawyers denied the act was revenge after a fight with Tylor Bell’s father outside a Gympie mall. Credit: News Regional Media

“Mr. Smart proved what the Bells were capable of; going from zero to arming and resorting to violence for God knows what…in the middle of the day,” Lodziak said.

“Who does that?

“Because of all that, and everything that he has seen in this trial, he would not be satisfied beyond a reasonable doubt about the element of illegality.

“So, ultimately, Mr. Smart would not only be found not guilty of murder, but also not guilty of involuntary manslaughter.”

Crown prosecutor Dejana Kovac told the jury that the late Mr Bell was never close enough to Mr Smart to cause “an actual threat” to him while he was in the mall car park.

In his closing submissions, he told the jury that Mr. Smart had told “deliberate lies” about being chased down the highway and that Mr. Bell was armed with a knife and subsequently “unarmed.”

“He lied because he knew the truth would implicate him, he didn’t have an innocent explanation,” Kovac said.

Kovac urged the jury to reject Smart’s account in favor of eyewitnesses who saw the couple on the road and Smart’s statements to undercover officers while in police custody.

He said the degree of force used in the attack was not necessary if Smart was concerned about his safety.

“Ultimately, his (Mr. Smart’s) account of events sucks to heaven,” Ms. Kovac said.

Multiple witnesses, including Gregory Bell, have testified in the last five days.

Surveillance room recordings taken by undercover police officers were also shown to the jury, with Smart saying he was “chased” down the road that day.

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