Geraldton taxi driver James Michael Greenup given six-year jail term for machete attack on passenger

The former regional WA taxi driver who attacked a passenger with a machete has been sentenced to six years behind bars.

James Michael Greenup was found guilty of causing grievous bodily harm to Geraldton resident Charlie Collard in the early hours of March 21 last year.

Greenup drove Mr Collard and two other people from the Freemason’s Hotel to the Broadwater Resort then became aggressive when Mr Collard said he wanted to continue to Glenfield.

An argument over the fare ensued, with Mr Collard telling Geraldton District Court the 52-year-old driver pulled out a knife and said: “Meet my friend Mr Machete.”

Greenup then cut Mr Collard’s throat with the 64cm blade, with the victim saying blood had flowed from his neck “like a water pistol”.

A man dressed in black stands outside a courthouse
Geraldton’s Charlie Collard was left fighting for life after he was attacked by his taxi driver. (ABC News: Phoebe Pin)

He required emergency surgery to repair a jugular vein, spending three days in intensive care at Royal Perth Hospital.

When arrested by police, Greenup told detectives he never carried weapons in his taxi and denied attacking Mr Collard.

He was subsequently charged when police found a machete smeared with Mr Collard’s blood under a couch in Mr Greenup’s home.

The taxi driver later admitted he had been holding the machete when it struck Mr Collard’s throat.

But he denied this had been intentional and claimed he didn’t know his passenger was wounded when he left Mr Collard at the scene.

He also claimed he kept the blade in the car for self-defense and had “feared for [his] life” when Mr Collard started punching him.

But the jury rejected this claim, with Judge Fiona Vernon also finding the attack had been unprovoked and Mr Collard hadn’t touched Greenup.

Blue sign shows entrance to prison.  Prison building is in the background.
James Michael Greenup is in custody at Hakea Prison in Perth. (ABC News)

Appearing in court on Wednesday on a video link from Hakea Prison, Greenup alleged he was receiving threats in custody.

He said he regretted the harm he caused Mr Collard and wished he could “turn back time”.

But Judge Vernon said Greenup had displayed no remorse for his actions during the trial and had instead made “racial slurs” against Mr Collard’s family when the jury delivered their verdict.

She said Greenup displayed a “callous disregard for Mr Collard’s welfare” and it was possible he “was quicker to take offense from an Indigenous person” than a non-Indigenous passenger.

Defense counsel George Giudice told the court Greenup had refused to contact his lawyer after entering custody, but did say he was remorseful.

Mr Collard was not in court when the sentence was delivered, but loved ones appeared relieved at the outcome.

Greenup was shaking his head during Judge Vernon’s sentencing remarks, saying he didn’t understand why he was in custody.

“I don’t know why I’m being convicted for defending myself,” he said.

He must serve four years before he is eligible for parole. A violence restraining order will also ban him from being within 25 meters of Mr Collard.

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