SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA – MAY 02: Anthony Bell arrives at the Downing Centre today with his legal team during his AVO case from his estranged wife Kelly Landry on May 2, 2017 in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Ben Rushton/Fairfax Media) Photo: Ben RushtonAfter months of salacious headlines and nasty smears, celebrity couple Kelly Landry and Anthony Bell sat on opposite sides of the courtroom, flanked by their families, as they awaited the outcome of their bitter court battle.
Following a judgment lasting nearly an hour in Sydney’s Downing Centre Local Court on Thursday, magistrate Robert Williams dismissed an application by police on behalf of Ms Landry for an Apprehended Violence Order against Mr Bell.
While Mr Williams accepted Ms Landry’s account that Mr Bell had intimidated her during a “disturbing” and “chilling” incident at their harbour-front home in Sydney’s eastern suburbs last year, he said it would not be appropriate to make a permanent order.
“There appears to be little if no opportunity of future incidents,” Mr Williams said before noting that the application by police had been properly brought.
Outside court, Mr Bell, a champion skipper and multimillionaire, said the experience had been “harrowing” and the outcome was “absolutely relieving”.
Mr Bell said he had wondered a “million times” whether the court case was worth the airing of his marital collapse and was now looking forward to moving on with his life.
Ms Landry did not comment as she left the court.
The disintegration of the pair’s marriage has played out in public since police applied for the AVO against Mr Bell on behalf of Ms Landry, a former television presenter and model, in January.
It was only days earlier that the pair had embraced for the cameras after Mr Bell, who runs an accountancy firm with star clients, claimed line honours in the Sydney to Hobart yacht race.
Mr Bell challenged the bid to implement the AVO, with prominent Sydney lawyers Chris Murphy and Ian Temby, QC, hired to represent him.
In delivering his reasons, Mr Williams said he accepted Ms Landry’s account that Mr Bell intimidated her during an argument in November 2016.
Mr Bell, the court heard, had used a butter knife to open the lock on a bedroom door where Ms Landry had retreated during an argument.
When Mr Bell then tried to wrestle Ms Landry’s phone from her, her right arm and the head of the child she was holding hit the wall. Ms Landry recorded the incident on her mobile phone.
“The cry from [Ms Landry] and what both parties agree is the sound of the child’s head hitting the wall can not easily be forgotten. They were chilling sounds,” Mr Williams said.
But Mr Williams said he could not be satisfied by Ms Landry’s evidence that Mr Bell had fallen on top of her, put his hand around her throat and thrown her onto a bed during another incident in 2012.
Mr Bell denied both allegations of abuse.
During a hearing into the AVO application earlier this month, Ms Landy also accused her husband of being “financially mean to her”.
The court heard Ms Landry once told a psychologist that her husband was worth $100 million but she was paid “less than the nanny”.
Mr Williams said there was not enough evidence to make a finding on whether Mr Bell had been financially controlling during their relationship.
During the hearing, Ms Landry also gave evidence that she suspected “something was going on, but not necessarily infidelity” between Mr Bell and Erin Molan, host of The Footy Show.
“I know about Erin. Just saw her run to you,” Ms Landry told Mr Bell in a text messages hours after they celebrated his yacht race win.
Mr Bell denied having an affair, and Ms Molan subsequently made an emotional statement on television saying there was “not one iota of truth to any of the speculation”.