Qld Strawberry Accused Granted Bail
A Queensland woman charged after allegedly inserting needles into strawberries sparking a countrywide food scare has been granted bail.
My Ut Trinh, 50, was charged this month with seven counts of contamination of goods with intent to cause economic loss after police identified her DNA on a needle found in a strawberry punnet in Victoria.
Prosecutors have alleged the former strawberry farm supervisor was seeking revenge over a workplace grievance when she contaminated the fruit.
She allegedly told a co-worker "if I hate anyone, I would put the needle in the strawberry and make them go bankrupt", Brisbane Magistrates Court heard on Thursday.
The co-worker said she made the comments "one or two years ago".
Trinh was granted bail after her lawyer Nick Dore argued the case against her was circumstantial.
"There is no motive. There has been no suggestion why this would occur," Mr Dore said.
Trinh was working at Berrylicious in her hometown of Caboolture, north of Brisbane, between September 2 and 5 when she allegedly inserted needles into the fruit.
DNA matching Trinh's was found on one of the needles, prosecutors said.
The first needle was discovered on September 9 when a man bit into a contaminated strawberry he bought at a supermarket.
Trinh almost immediately became a person of interest to police, the court had previously heard.
As more needles were discovered around the country - with many believed to have been planted by copycats - strawberries were stripped from shelves.
Growers like Trinh's boss suffered massive financial losses as they were forced to destroy crops.
Police have said 230 needle contamination incidents were ultimately reported nationwide, affecting 68 strawberry brands.
Trinh will relinquish her passport and has been barred from speaking to former farm worker colleagues as part of her bail conditions.