Contamination charges dropped over strawberry needle scare

Woman accused of terrorising strawberry growers has charges dropped

Horticulture
My Ut Trinh has walked from court after having charges dropped over putting needles in strawberries. Credit: AAP

My Ut Trinh has walked from court after having charges dropped over putting needles in strawberries. Credit: AAP

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My Ut Trinh worked as a farm supervisor at Berrylicious farm in Caboolture, and was charged with eight counts of contamination of goods with intent to cause economic loss.

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Charges against the Queensland woman who was accused of terrorising the state's strawberry producers in 2018 have been dropped just hours before her trial.

My Ut Trinh worked as a farm supervisor at Berrylicious farm in Caboolture, and was charged with eight counts of contamination of goods with intent to cause economic loss.

The first needle was discovered on September 9, 2018 when a man bit into a strawberry he bought at a supermarket.

As more needles were discovered around the country - with many believed to have been planted by copycats - strawberries were stripped from supermarket shelves.

The scare forced growers to destroy entire crops during the peak of their season with financial losses estimated at about $160 million.

Police at the time said 230 needle contamination incidents were reported nationwide, affecting 68 strawberry brands.

At the time of the scare, a $100,000 reward was offered for anyone who provided information that would lead to the arrest of those responsible.

Outside court Ms Trinh and supporters embraced and wiped away tears.

"Thank you. I don't know how to talk. I no talk but I work my job nearly 20 years, I eat fruit every day," she told AAP.

"I [have not] worked for almost three years."

Supporters said Ms Trinh had been separated from the world for three years since being charged.

"She has been so hard done by, it has been horrific," supporter Mark Ellis said

"We are very happy with the outcome.

"This had taken a massive toll on her whole life. She has been too scared to go anywhere or do anything.

"It's been incredibly hard for all of us. We never believe it, right from the start."

Outside court, lawyer Nick Dore said Ms Trinh had been vindicated and begged for a chance at a normal life.

"To everyone who believed in her during this period, she wants to thank the barristers and to all the friends and family who for the last two-and-a-half years have been providing support to her and believing in her innocence," Mr Dore said.

"She sees today as being a complete vindication."

Mr Dore said dropping the charges was "the right decision" considering the evidence that was produced throughout the course of a "long and convoluted" prosecution.

The story Contamination charges dropped over strawberry needle scare first appeared on Queensland Country Life.

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