Businessman behind 1080 threats named

Name suppression lapsed at a disputed facts hearing this morning.

The businessman who has pleaded guilty to blackmailing Fonterra and Federated Farmers can now be named as Jeremy Hamish Kerr.

Kerr’s suppression lapsed at the beginning of a disputed facts hearing before Justice Geoffrey Venning in the High Court at Auckland this morning.

Last year, Kerr admitted to making threats to both Fonterra and Federated Farmers, alleging infant formula intended for the Chinese market was contaminated with 1080 poison.

He later pleaded guilty to and was convicted of two charges of blackmail in December.

Kerr does not accept all of the allegations, which are expected to be argued over the next couple of days.

Crown lawyer Christine Gordon, QC, says what benefit the threat had to Kerr is being disputed.

It is alleged his actions were financially motivated, with Kerr receiving royalties for the sale of another pest control product called feratox.

Kerr is also involved with a company which makes possum fur products.

Kerr is being represented by John Billington, QC.

The Dairy Companies Association has estimated the man’s threats costs the New Zealand dairy sector millions of dollars.

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