Man accused of 1080 blackmail changes lawyer

  • 28/10/2015
Man accused of 1080 blackmail changes lawyer

An Auckland businessman who allegedly threatened to poison infant formula with 1080 if the pesticide wasn't banned will change his lawyer.

The 60-year-old, who was granted name suppression at this first appearance, appeared in Manukau District Court today.

His current lawyer Hugh Leabourn sought leave to withdraw and will be replaced by John Billington QC.

Judge David Harvey granted a two week adjournment before the man appears again to enter a plea.

He faces charges of attempted blackmail for financial gain.

The man was arrested earlier this month following an 11-month, $3 million investigation into two anonymous letters sent to Fonterra and Federated Farmers in November last year.

The letters, sent with small packages of milk powder laced with a concentrated form of 1080, threatened to contaminate infant and other formula with the poison unless New Zealand stopped using 1080 for pest control by the end of March.

No contaminated infant formula was ever identified.

NZN