22 Nov 2018

Bail for woman suspected of sticking needles in strawberries

7:31 pm on 22 November 2018

A Queensland woman accused of inserting needles into strawberries has been granted bail.

A Queensland woman accused of inserting needles into strawberries has been granted bail.

No caption

An Australian berry farm worker is accused of inserting needles in strawberries to make her employer go bankrupt. Photo: 123RF

My Ut Trinh, 50, was charged this month with seven counts of contamination of goods with intent to cause economic loss after the police identified her DNA on a needle found in a strawberry punnet in Victoria.

She worked as a supervisor at the Berry Licious farm north of Brisbane and prosecutors allege she was seeking revenge for a workplace grievance.

More than 100 incidents of needles were reported around Australia in September, severely hampering the country's strawberry industry.

Prosecutor Cheryl Tesch told a Brisbane court there was a "strong case" against Ms Trinh.

Police evidence included two needles found in a plastic container in Victoria, Ms Tesch said.

"The DNA found on one of those needles is 100 billion times more likely to be that of the defendant," Ms Tesch said.

Defence lawyer Nick Dore said the case against Ms Trinh was based on "hearsay, innuendo and rumour".

Mr Dore said the police case relied on a conversation "one or two years ago" where Ms Trinh is alleged to have told another worker: "If I hate anyone, I will put the needle in the strawberry and make them go bankrupt."

However, Mr Dore said the worker did not believe Ms Trinh was being serious.

Mr Dore said his client had no motive to commit the offence, and had complied with police during the investigation.

While he conceded her DNA was found on the needle, he said that did not prove she inserted it into the fruit.

Ms Trinh was granted bail on the condition that she not contact workers on the strawberry farm, surrender her passport and report to police three times a week.

The case was adjourned until December 17.