James Michael Greenup: Taxi driver admits he lied to police about carrying machete used in alleged attack

Lachlan AllenGeraldton Guardian
Former Geraldton taxi driver James Michael Greenup leaves Geraldton Courthouse on June 17.
Camera IconFormer Geraldton taxi driver James Michael Greenup leaves Geraldton Courthouse on June 17. Credit: Geraldton Guardian/RegionalHUB

A former taxi driver accused of slashing a passenger’s neck with a machete admitted he lied about carrying the weapon to police saying he “panicked”, a Geraldton trial has heard.

James Michael Greenup is standing trial in the Geraldton District Court, fighting a charge of causing grievous bodily harm to Charlie Collard in the early hours of March 21, 2021, at Beresford.

The court previously heard Mr Collard shared the ride with two other passengers, a couple heading to the Broadwater Mariner Resort, and he planned to continue the fare to his home in Glenfield.

After dropping the couple off, Mr Greenup and Mr Collard got into a disagreement and was told to leave the taxi.

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After trying to convince the driver to take him home, it’s alleged Mr Greenup became heated and stated, “get the f... out of the cab you c.... or I’ll make you piss.”

It’s then alleged Mr Greenup pulled out a 60cm machete and struck Mr Collard to the left side of his neck, piercing his jugular vein.

Giving evidence on Wednesday, Mr Greenup admitted lying to police about carrying the machete when he was questioned in the early hours of the morning, saying he “panicked” and went in to “shutdown mode”.

In his closing statement, State prosecutor Gary Huggins alleged Mr Greenup deliberately lied to police about the weapon, as it was the same one used on Mr Collard.

On the witness stand, Mr Greenup told the jury how he feared for his life when the argument between himself and Mr Collard escalated.

The 52-year-old man said he had been constantly threatened, attacked and robbed during the eight months he spent working as a taxi driver.

The court was told Mr Greenup reported these alleged incidents to police and was told there was nothing they could do.

During his cross-examination, Mr Huggins noted that the only record police had was a road rage incident resulting in a broken window.

Mr Greenup said he decided to take matters into his own hands by carrying the machete in his taxi.

The jury heard he never intended to use the weapon and simply had it for deterrence.

The taxi driver claimed Mr Collard became abusive after he ended the fare and demanded he continue, despite his insistence that he was unable to do so.

Mr Greenup said he then reached down to grab the machete, in the hope it would scare Mr Collard to get out of the taxi.

It is then alleged Mr Collard punched Mr Greenup three times in the head.

Continuing his cross-examination, Mr Huggins highlighted that Mr Greenup suffered no bruises as a result of the alleged punches.

Mr Greenup said he was “terrified” and feared for his life when he picked up the machete a second time and pointed it towards Mr Collard.

However, Mr Huggins pointed out there was a distress button located on the same side of the car as the machete which Mr Greenup did not press.

“I wasn’t in the right frame of mind to think of pressing it,” he said.

He said he did not see any blood on Mr Collard as he left the taxi and denied knowing he was being dragged along by the car as he reversed.

“I was scared for my life, just wanted to reverse and get out of there,” he said.

The court was also told Mr Greenup took his cab to a car wash after the alleged attack, but the taxi driver claimed that was routine for the end of every shift.

On day one of the trial, Mr Collard told the jury how profusely he was bleeding from his injury and denied punching Mr Greenup.

The trial continues.

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