Hey Dad! star Robert Hughes to stand trial

Last updated 16:28 26/07/2013
Robert Hughes
SET FOR TRIAL: Robert Hughes at a previous court appearance.

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Hey Dad! star Robert Hughes will stand trial next year to fight allegations he sexually assaulted five girls.

Dressed in a red tie and dark suit, a clean-cut Hughes was silent during his brief appearance in Sydney's Downing Centre District Court on Friday.

The 64-year-old has pleaded not guilty to 11 sexual and indecent assault offences but has not been formally arraigned.

His lawyer Greg Walsh says the one-time TV icon plans to fight the charges when his trial begins on February 10.

"He asserts his innocence and it's being vigorously defended," he told reporters outside court.

Hughes left court without speaking to the waiting media pack.

Walsh said he feared his client's high profile would hurt his chances of getting a fair trial.

"I think it would be very difficult, from my understanding of the extent and nature of the media coverage over such a prolonged period of time, to get a fair trial," he said on Friday.

"But that's up to the courts to deal with, and they'll need to give very careful consideration of that when the matter comes on next year."

Two of the five alleged victims have given a series of print and television interviews accusing Hughes of sexually assaulting them when they were children.

The accusations preceded his arrest in London last year and his subsequent return to Australia where he was charged.

Hughes played the lead role of Martin Kelly in Hey Dad!, which ran from 1987 to 1994.

Walsh has previously indicated he expects a lengthy trial, and on Friday the court heard there could be six weeks of argument before hearings begin.

AAP

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