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Australian strawberry needle case: Accused granted bail

The DNA found on a needle in a strawberry punnet is extremely likely to belong to Queensland farm supervisor My Ut Trinh, prosecutors have told a Brisbane court.

Ms Trinh was arrested earlier this month after a major police investigation into how needles came to be placed in strawberries that were shipped around the country. She had been held at the Brisbane Women's Correctional Centre, but on Thursday was granted bail by the Brisbane Magistrates Court.

She has been charged with seven counts of contaminating goods.

Prosecutor Cheryl Tesch told the court that they had a "strong case" against Ms Trinh, who worked at the Berry Licious farm at Caboolture, north of Brisbane. Tesch said the police evidence included two needles found in a plastic container in Victoria.

Defence lawyer Nick Dore said the case against Ms Trinh was based on "hearsay, innuendo and rumour". He said the case relied on a conversation "one or two years ago" where Ms Trinh is alleged to have told another worker: "If I hate anyone, I will put the needle in the strawberry and make them go bankrupt."

However, Dore said the worker did not believe Ms Trinh was being serious. Dore said his client had no motive to commit the offence, and had complied with police during the investigation.

Dore said Ms Trinh posed a low risk of re-offending if she was to be released on bail. He also said the risk to her personal safety was low. "There's no evidence of vigilante justice from the fruit-picking industry.” reported how Trinh was granted bail on the condition that she not contact workers on the strawberry farm, surrender her passport and report to police three times a week. The case is adjourned until December 17.

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