Revenge sparked sabotage
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.