Judge slams Liam Casley's ‘low act' while tradie bleeding out

The loved ones of a tradie killed as he was walking to the beach with his girlfriend have shared their heartbreak with a court.

The Supreme Court of Victoria on Monday heard from the father, mother, sister and girlfriend of Cameron Smith, who was 26 when he was allegedly stabbed in the street on November 25, 2020, in Seaford in Melbourne’s outskirts.

Jack Ledlin has previously pleaded not guilty to murder and is yet to face trial.

Liam Casley, 19, who kicked Smith in the head as he lay bleeding in the street, appeared in court for a pre-sentence hearing after pleading guilty to affray. He was forced to hear the words of his victim’s family.

Judge slams Liam Casley’s ‘low act’ while tradie bleeding out

Camera IconLiam Casley pleaded guilty to affray after he was captured on video kicking Cameron Smith as he lay in the street after an alleged stabbing. Credit: Supplied

Judge slams Liam Casley’s ‘low act’ while tradie bleeding out

Camera IconJack Ledlin has pleaded not guilty to murdering Cameron Smith. Credit: Supplied

Mr Smith was a skilled carpenter who had represented Victoria in long distance running and steeplechase.

The court was told he loved pranks, working on his car, and fixing things around the house.

Mr Smith’s father Michael told the court his beloved son had been stolen from him in a “despicable act”.

“I’ll miss how cheeky he was and his fantastic sense of humour,” he said.

“His loss has ripped my heart out and smashed it into a million pieces.

“Sometimes I feel like the weapon that took him from me has pierced my heart.”

Judge slams Liam Casley’s ‘low act’ while tradie bleeding out

Camera IconCameron Smith was his mother’s ‘rock’, she told a court. Credit: Supplied

Mr Smith’s mother Michelle told the court he was her “rock” who had helped her stop drinking.

She cheered for him so loudly at athletics events that he was embarrassed, she said.

When she got the call telling her he was dead she fell to the ground, shaking and crying hysterically.

Seeing his body on a coroner’s trolley she burst out, “Wake up, kid.”

“He was my world, we had a very special bond,” she said.

Mr Smith’s sister, Taylah, said she woke up every morning thinking she had just had an awful nightmare.

Then she remembered his death was real.

“I miss the way he could lift the mood of a room just by walking in,” she said.

“Now I have to live the rest of my life without him.”

Judge slams Liam Casley’s ‘low act’ while tradie bleeding out

Camera IconCameron Smith’s family shared their grief with a court on Monday. Credit: Supplied

Judge slams Liam Casley’s ‘low act’ while tradie bleeding out

Camera IconCameron Smith was walking to the beach with Natasha Stroumos when they were harassed by four people, police say. Credit: Supplied

Justice Michael Croucher slammed Casley’s “very low act” following the alleged fatal stabbing.

He was not the one who allegedly fatally stabbed Smith, but Justice Croucher said his act was “horrible” and had been captured on video.

“He deliberately walks over and bang, he kicks him,” he said.

“It’s a shocking thing to do to kick a man when he’s on the ground like that — in the head, no less.

“To me that was the worst part of (the affray). It was a very low act, as far as I’m concerned.”

The court was told Smith and his girlfriend were walking past the group of four people: Mr Ledlin, Casley, a 17-year-old who cannot be named due to his age, and Mr Ledlin’s girlfriend’s Scarlett Taylor — who has also pleaded guilty to affray.

Judge slams Liam Casley’s ‘low act’ while tradie bleeding out

Camera IconScarlett Taylor, who has also pleaded guilty to affray, had a dispute with Smith’s girlfriend at a previous party, the court was told. Credit: Supplied

Mr Ledlin’s girlfriend and Mr Smith’s girlfriend had previously fought at a party over a drink, the court was told.

Mr Ledlin and Taylor allegedly began verbally harassing the couple when they walked past.

The pair had just bought pizza and were on their way to one of their favourite activities: watching the sunset on the beach.

Instead, they were attacked and Mr Smith was killed, the court was told.

Afterwards the four alleged attackers got a taxi to a shopping centre and got out without paying, police allege.

The court was told Casley’s phone was found at the crime scene and he was arrested days later.

Judge slams Liam Casley’s ‘low act’ while tradie bleeding out

Camera IconA memorial at the site where Cameron Smith was allegedly stabbed after defending his girlfriend in Seaford last November. NCA NewsWire / Daniel Pockett Credit: News Corp Australia

Police found him hiding from them under a desk, the court was told.

He told police he didn’t realise Mr Smith was stabbed during the fight and that he threw up when he heard the news of his death on Facebook.

He said he didn’t remember kicking him.

Casley had a serious drinking problem and a rough childhood, his lawyer Sam Norton told the court.

Casley’s upbringing was so “disruptive” that he only learned to shave in a prison program after being arrested, Mr Norton said.

He will be sentenced on August 17.

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