Re­venge sparked sab­o­tage

Tasmanian Country - - CROSSWORD -

A FARM su­per­vi­sor in Queens­land ac­cused of spark­ing a na­tion­wide in­dus­try cri­sis by putting nee­dles in straw­ber­ries has faced court but po­lice say the in­quiry is on­go­ing.

My Ut Trinh ap­peared in Bris­bane Mag­is­trates Court this week, charged with seven counts of con­tam­i­na­tion of goods with in­tent to cause eco­nomic loss.

The court heard Trinh, 50, was work­ing at Ber­ry­li­cious at Ca­bool­ture be­tween Septem­ber 2 and 5 when she al­legedly in­serted nee­dles into the fruit.

It will be al­leged DNA match­ing Trinh’s was found on one of the nee­dles.

The first nee­dle was dis­cov­ered on Septem­ber 9 when a man bit into a con­tam­i­nated straw­berry he bought at a su­per­mar­ket, and Trinh al­most im­me­di­ately be­came a per­son of in­ter­est to po­lice, the court heard.

More nee­dles were dis­cov­ered around the coun­try, in­clud­ing in Tas­ma­nia. Many are be­lieved to have been planted by copy­cats.

As the scare spread na­tion­wide straw­ber­ries were stripped from shelves and grow­ers suf­fered mas­sive fi­nan­cial losses as they were forced to de­stroy crops.

Mag­is­trate Chris­tine Roney said the Crown was al­leg­ing Trinh was “mo­ti­vated by spite or re­venge” over a work­place griev­ance, but said she would not con­sider grant­ing bail un­til the rea­sons for the retri­bu­tion be­came clearer.

Trinh was re­manded in cus­tody un­til Novem­ber 22. She faces up to 10 years’ jail if con­victed.

Ear­lier Queens­land De­tec­tive John Walker said the in­ves­ti­ga­tion into straw­berry tam­per­ing had in­volved al­most ev­ery state and ju­ris­dic­tion in the coun­try.

He said in to­tal 230 in­ci­dents had been ul­ti­mately re­ported na­tion­wide, af­fect­ing 68 straw­berry brands.

“The in­ves­ti­ga­tion is on­go­ing and fur­ther in­ves­tiga­tive strate­gies are be­ing un­der­taken,” he told re­porters.

A South Aus­tralian man has ear­lier been charged with falsely re­port­ing fruit sab­o­tage.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Australia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.