A 76-year-old taxi driver has given up night driving and now sleeps with the hall light on after a passenger held a knife to this throat during an armed robbery last year.
Judge Graham Turnbull sentenced Callum John James Bates, 25, to jail in Orange District Court on Monday for armed robbery, intimidating another passenger in the taxi, and for spitting on a police officer after he was arrested.
Bates was 24 years old and under the influence of drugs when he and another man got into a taxi at the Robertson Park taxi rank at 10.40pm on November 7.
The backseat passenger directed the driver to an address in Spring Street but Bates became agitated and said the driver was going the wrong way and directed him down other streets.
Judge Turnbull said the other passenger was not involved in the robbery and he became a second victim when he tried to talk Bates down and was also threatened with the knife.
"He was somebody who acted courageously to put a break in the offenders behaviour," Judge Turnbull said.
During the incident, Bates, who was in the front seat, took the driver's mobile phone and kept demanding cash despite the driver telling him people pay by card.
Judge Turnbull said the in-car-video showed showed Bates becoming angry "pretty quickly".
His conduct in and of itself would have been frightening.Judge Graham Turnbull
In Anson Street Bates pulled out a knife and held it to the driver's throat and kept saying, "where's your money?" and the victim felt the knife nick his neck.
He said the backseat passenger tried to intervene but Bates turned on him and jabbed the knife at him.
The driver managed to alert other taxis and police. He stopped at a red light at the intersection of Anson and Prince streets where other taxis had converged and got into one of them. The driver received two small cuts on his throat.
After the driver escaped, the offender threatened the passenger and held the knife to his throat.
Both men were arrested nearby but the passenger was released without charge after police reviewed the in-car-video.
The victim's phone was not recovered and while in custody, Bates spat at a senior constable.
"His conduct in and of itself would have been frightening," Judge Turnbull said.
He said the driver would have been "quite petrified," and although he appeared to keep a level head it has affected his sleep and work.
During sentencing, Judge Turnbull said Bates is at risk of becoming institutionalised but there is time for him to undertake drug rehabilitation while in custody.
He sentenced Bates to a total of three years and 10 months jail with one year and 11 months without-parole until December 6, 2022.
He said due to the length of the sentence Bates will have to apply for parole otherwise his sentence will end on November 6, 2024.
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