Woman accused of putting needles in strawberries appears in court

Alleged strawberry contaminator My Ut Trinh (50). Picture: AAP/Dan Peled.
Alleged strawberry contaminator My Ut Trinh (50). Picture: AAP/Dan Peled.

A FORMER Queensland strawberry farm employee accused of planting needles in the fruit, sparking a nationwide crisis for the industry, has been told it is too soon to apply for bail.

My Ut Trinh, 50, appeared in Brisbane Magistrates court on Monday after being charged on Sunday with seven counts of contamination of goods – between September 2 to 5 – with intent to cause economic loss.

The first discovery of needles in strawberries was on September 9, and Trinh has known she was a person of interest from the 12th, the court heard.

Trinh’s lawyer Michael Cridland made a bail application but withdrew it after magistrate Christine Roney advised it was “premature” because the motivation behind the alleged contamination was still unclear.

“The case that was put is that she was motivated by some fight or revenge,” Ms Roney said.

Trinh, a former refugee who arrived in Australia by boat more than two decades ago, will remain in custody until her next hearing later in November.

Earlier on Monday, Detective John Walker told reporters in Brisbane that Trinh was employee in the strawberry industry in the Caboolture area.

Police began investigating in September when sewing needles were first found in fruit, with a further 230 incidents ultimately reported nationwide impacting 68 strawberry brands.

The investigation was not over, with further investigative strategies being undertaken, he said.