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Last Updated: Wednesday, 30 March 2005, 11:40 GMT 12:40 UK
Swank fined for NZ fruit import
Hilary Swank
Swank appealed against her fine in a handwritten letter
Oscar-winning actress Hilary Swank has been fined NZ$200 (75) for bringing two pieces of fruit into New Zealand.

Swank, 30, breached quarantine laws by failing to declare an apple and orange when she flew into Auckland in January.

The actress, who won her second Oscar in February, was fined but appealed against the penalty, defending herself in a letter.

Her appeal was rejected by the Manukau District Court, who ordered she also pay NZ$30 (11) in costs.

Swank could have paid her on-the-spot fine when she arrived in Auckland but chose to plead her case to New Zealand's Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry.

"After my 20-hour flight I simply forgot I had one orange and one apple. I do apologise sincerely," she wrote.

However, the court advised the ministry on Wednesday it was upholding the penalty - one of thousands issued every year to visitors who do not declare agricultural products.

New Zealand has strict biosecurity regulations aimed at keeping it free of pests and diseases.

International passengers are obliged to declare all foodstuffs they may be carrying when entering the country.

Swank won her second best actress Oscar this year for her role as a female boxer in Clint Eastwood's Million Dollar Baby. She won her first in 2000 for Boys Don't Cry.


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