Woman accused in strawberry needle saga has charges dropped

·2-min read

A woman accused of sparking a national food safety panic when needles were found inside strawberries has had all charges against her dropped.

Former strawberry farm supervisor My Ut Trinh, 51, was due to stand trial charged with food contamination offences.

However, the start of the Brisbane District Court trial was delayed after two days of legal argument and Ms Trinh was told on Wednesday that prosecutors had dropped all charges.

"The prosecution have indicated that they will no longer proceed against you with these charges," Justice Michael Byrne said.

"You are now discharged and you can leave the dock."

 My Ut Trinh pictured outside of court. Source: AAP
My Ut Trinh has had all the charges against her dropped. Source: AAP
My Ut Trinh is seen departing the Brisbane District Court, in Brisbane, Tuesday, July 13, 2021.
Source: AAP
My Ut Trinh (right) was greeted by supporters outside court. Source: AAP

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 no work 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," one supporter said.

Ms Trinh had worked at Berrylicious in her hometown of Caboolture, north of Brisbane, between September 2 and 7, 2018, when prosecutors previously alleged she inserted needles into the fruit.

She had been charged with seven counts of contamination of goods with intent to cause economic loss.

My Ut Trinh in a police car.
My Ut Trinh was arrested following an investigation into the alleged contamination of strawberries containing needles in Queensland in September. Source: AAP

Growers were forced to destroy entire crops with financial losses estimated at about $160 million.

The first needle was discovered on September 9, 2018 when a man bit into a contaminated 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 shelves.

Police have said 230 needle contamination incidents were ultimately reported nationwide, affecting 68 strawberry brands.

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