Rosie Produce Supervisor Tim Blackley, with owner Dean Akers.
Rosie Produce Supervisor Tim Blackley, with owner Dean Akers. Scottie Simmonds

Bundy sweet potato farmer denies claims by Four Corners

SWEET potato farmer Dean Akers has rejected allegations made against him on Monday nights ABC Four Corners program.

The Bundaberg farmer refused to speak with the NewsMail and referred all questions to his solicitor Glen Toll, of Baker O'Brien Toll Solicitors.

The program made allegations of verbal abuse by Mr Akers and his farm supervisor against two female British backpackers.

Mr Toll said his client Mr Akers has refuted all allegations and was not at the farm on the day the alleged verbal abuse took place.

"They (Four Corners) allege that they were verbally abused - Molly and Katie, two British backpackers," Mr Toll said.

"This is alleged against Dean Akers and the farm supervisor - we have rejected that allegation and that was reported in Kerry O'Briens closing comments of the show.

"Dean tells me he wasn't even present on the farm on the day these two girls were allegedly at the farm."

It is alleged the farm supervisor Tim Blackley called a number of workers 'retards' and said they would be fired if they did not work harder.

Four Corners said the girls left the farm empty handed and were paid several days later.

Mr Toll said the allegations on the show don't allege the Akers farm had done anything wrong in relation to pay.

"There were a number of nasty allegations about people down south and they are quite terrible," Mr Toll said.

"These (nasty) allegations were not alleged against the Akers people."

Mr Akers and his wife Rosie Akers own Rosie Produce and have been in the Bundaberg region since 2000.

The farm is the biggest sweet potato supplier in Queensland and is believed to have contracts with Woolworths and Coles.

Mr Toll defended his clients name and said all processes to clear his name were in place.

"Dean and Rosie have a good reputation in the industry and it is unfortunate to have cast off images coming from other stories," he said.

"Dean has taken this quite seriously and relevant processes are in place."



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