My Ut Trinh, 50, being driven in to the Brisbane watch house on November 11. Picture: AAP/John Gass
My Ut Trinh, 50, being driven in to the Brisbane watch house on November 11. Picture: AAP/John Gass

Alleged strawberry saboteur out on bail

THE farm worker accused of contaminating strawberries with needles, crippling the industry and sparking a national crisis, has been granted bail.

My Ut Trinh, 50, is accused of seven counts of contaminating goods with intent to cause economic loss relating to a string of incidents where needles were found in strawberry punnets across Australia in September.

Police allege Trinh, a picking manager who worked for the Berrylicious/Berry amp in southeast Queensland, contaminated the strawberries out of "spite" for her employer.

Police prosecutor Cheryl Tesch today opposed Trinh's bail bid saying police there was a strong case against her with DNA found on a needle in strawberries sold at a Victorian supermarket is "100 billions times likely to be that of the defendant".

Ms Tesch said the alleged offending "crippled" Australia's $160 billion strawberry industry and had "serious economic consequences" both for the farm owner "who attests to financial ruin in his statement" and the greater Australian economy as a whole.

Defence lawyer Nick Dore says a witness claims Trinh told him one to two years ago: "If I hate anyone I will put the needles in the strawberries and make them go bankrupt" but he thought she was joking.

Mr Dore said Trinh, a Vietnamese refugee who moved to Australia almost 20 years ago, was not a flight risk.

The magistrate agreed to grant Trinh bail on the conditions she has no contact with witnesses in the case including the farm owner and other workers, she surrenders her passport and not approach any international departure points.

Her case will be heard again on December 17.