Tasmanian garlic farmer and former chair of the Australian Garlic Industry Association Letetia Ware was sentenced to 11 month’s jail in early September for illegally importing more than 2,000 garlic bulbs. She will be eligible for release after two months.
According to ABC Rural reporting from the Hobart Supreme Court, Justice Gregory Geason said Ware ignored laws designed to protect Australian agriculture. “The disease risk was potentially devastating to rural industries,” he said.
On 4 September, ABC News reported that Ware had illegally importing more than 2,000 garlic bulbils labelled as ‘office supplies’ into Tasmania, over an 18-month period from the US and Canada, which may have been infected with Xylella fastidiosa.
Ware pleaded guilty to three counts of aggravated illegal importation of plant material and seven counts of importing conditional non-prohibited goods.
Commonwealth Prosecutor Thomas Jones told Justice Gregory Geason that Ware’s offending was “arrogant and repeated”, deliberately dishonest and was motivated by gaining a commercial advantage. He said her offending posed a serious risk of devastating Tasmania’s agricultural sector and he asked for a “stern penalty”.