Charges dropped against Qld woman accused of putting needles into strawberries

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The lawyer for a Queensland woman accused of sparking a national food safety crisis by inserting needles into strawberries says she feels vindicated after charges against her were dropped.

The extraordinary move from prosecutors on Wednesday morning came before Caboolture woman My Ut Trinh was due to stand trial in the District Court on eight counts of contamination of goods with intent to cause economic loss.

Brisbane Court
Camera IconFormer farm worker My Ut Trinh was due to stand trial charged with contaminating strawberries with needles but prosecutors dropped all charges against her on Wednesday morning. NCA NewsWire/Tertius Pickard Credit: News Corp Australia

Trinh, a former supervisor at the Berrylicious strawberry farm in Caboolture, north of Brisbane, was alleged to have inserted needles into the fruit while working on the farm in September 2018.

But at Brisbane District Court on Wednesday, prosecutor Mark Whitbread indicated they would not be proceeding with the charges.

Outside court, her lawyer Nick Dore said Ms Trinh thanked everyone who “believed in her” and her innocence over the last few years.

“She sees today as being a complete vindication of what has occurred,” Mr Dore said.

Brisbane Court
Camera IconMy Ut Trinh (left) and her Nick Dore lawyer address the media outside court after the charges were dropped. NCA NewsWire/Tertius Pickard Credit: News Corp Australia

“The decision made by the Director of Public Prosecutions was the right decision to be made when considering all of the evidence that was produced throughout the course of the very long and convoluted prosecution.”

It follows several days of legal arguments between practitioners before Ms Trinh’s trial was due to formally start.

Mr Dore said the DPP made the decision based on the assessment of the evidence “as to whether they could maintain a conviction or support a conviction”.

An apple and banana have also been found to have a needle inside them amidst the strawberry needle saga.

The DPP has been contacted for comment.

Needles were first discovered in Australian strawberries in September 2018 when a man was hospitalised after biting into a contaminated piece of fruit, prompting a national food safety crisis.

The alleged act brought the country’s multi-million dollar industry to its knees as punnets were pulled from shelves amid public panic.

Arrest
Camera IconMy Ut Trinh following her arrest in 2018. She has now been cleared. Credit: News Corp Australia

Hundreds of copycat cases also emerged across the country.

Ms Trinh was arrested that same year, with police at the time alleging she had contaminated the fruit out of “spite” for her former employer.