BHP worker guilty of raping colleague at mining camp

·2-min read
Aaron Bunch/AAP PHOTOS

A BHP worker has been found guilty of raping a colleague at a mining camp after a night of heavy drinking during a shift change.

Ryan John Zabaznow, 37, was convicted on Monday of sexual penetration without consent in Newman in Western Australia's Pilbara region on November 18, 2020.

His victim told Perth's District Court she woke up to find Zabaznow raping her after she passed out inside her donga.

He denied it and said his Facebook messages showed the encounter was consensual but the jury disagreed after deliberating for about four hours.

The court was told the pair had been drinking with other fly-in fly-out workers at the camp's bar before the assault and continued socialising when it closed.

Zabaznow and the woman shared an intimate conversation about their past relationships before drinking outside the woman's donga with other colleagues.

As the night wore on the woman, who said she drank about 15 mid-strength beers, started to feel unwell.

A friend put her to bed after she vomited and she passed out.

The jury heard Zabaznow entered the woman's room and climbed into her bed after her friend left the scene.

The woman told the jury she woke while Zabaznow was raping her.

She said she was initially not sure what was happening and started to cry.

The attack stopped when two other workers heard "sex noises and moaning" and knocked on the woman's door to check if she was OK.

They found Zabaznow in the woman's bed.

His lawyer, Helen Prince, told the jury a series of social media messages sent before and after the rape showed the sex was consensual.

They included the woman saying "It's all good" after the incident when Zabaznow accused her of making a scene after he was discovered in the donga.

BHP said it took "courage and bravery" for the woman to speak out about her "traumatic" experience and the company continued to support her.

"Sexual violence is completely unacceptable and has no place in our communities or in our workplaces," a spokeswoman said.

"At BHP, we are determined to eliminate it from our workplaces and we are committed to creating a culture that is safe, inclusive and respectful at all times."

BHP sacked Zabaznow in December 2020 after conducting an internal investigation into the incident.

Zabaznow was remanded in custody to be sentenced on August 4.