Winery owner jailed for raping farmhand

Peter Raymond Costa, owner of Chidlow’s Well Estate in the Perth Hills, has been sentenced to six years in prison for the rape of a young farmhand working at his winery.

Costa, 57, was found guilty in August 2017 of three counts of sexual penetration without consent at the District Court of Western Australia. He was sentenced this morning (12 January) to six years in jail for the rape of a 24-year-old Japanese farmhand who was both working and living at the winery.

Judge Michael Gething told the court that Costa had taken advantage of the woman’s “extreme level of intoxication” and limited English late at night at what is a remote, isolated property.

During the trial, which lasted for four days, the court was told that the attack took place after a drunken dinner shared by Costa, the female farmhand and another male worker in March 2015. Costa’s wife was away when the incident occurred.

The female employee told the court that she was very drunk on the night, but that she remembered waking up in her bedroom with Costa on top of her.

She struggled and kicked Costa, but the ordeal only came to an end after she cried out for help and alerted the other resident worker. The court was told he found the woman lying on her bed in tears with Costa, who was naked from the waist down.

Costa admitted having sex with the woman, but denied the rape allegations, claiming that it was consensual.

Judge Gething backdated the sentence to 10 August 2017, meaning that Costa is eligible for parole after serving four years.

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