Robert Hughes, the former star of Australian sitcom Hey Dad!, has today been found guilty on nine of eleven charges of sexual assault perpetrated on young girls during the 1980s. The verdict was delivery by a jury in Sydney’s Downing Centre District Court, concluding a trial that lasted six weeks. Hughes had previously pleaded not guilty. The jury found he had either sexually or indecently assaulted five girls, aged between seven and fifteen, between 1985 and 1990.
The court had heard that Hughes exposed himself to the girls during sleepovers at his house, and had walked into the room where they were sleeping. Hughes denied this, claiming that he slept naked and would often use the bathroom at night, but that he never walked into their rooms.
The jury heard of other incidents involving Hughes indecently assaulting girls at Manly beach; asking them to swim under his legs and exposing himself as they did so.
Hughes was steadfast in his denials throughout his three days in total on the witness stand. His wife and daughter also appeared and gave testimony that vehemently defended their husband and father. However the jury found the evidence presented by the prosecution overwhelming, and delivered the verdict of guilty. Upon hearing the verdict, Hughes was described to have stood and shouted, “I am innocent!” at the jury.
Hey Dad..! aired on Channel 7 between 1987 and 1994; a total of 8 seasons and 291 episodes. The show surrounded the Kelly family, featuring widowed father Martin (played by Hughes) and his children Simon, Debbie and Jenny. The series finale aired in August 1994, and involved a plot where the Kelly family are taken hostage by an armed bank robber, who places a bomb in their VCR. Wardrobe assistants who worked on Hey Dad told the jury that they felt uncomfortable waking Hughes, who often napped and meditated between scenes, as he had a habit of sleeping nude on a couch.
Robert Hughes will be sentenced at a later date.
Photo: Don Arnold via Getty Images.
via ABC News.