Hey Dad! actor guilty of sexually assaulting girls

Last updated 17:24 07/04/2014
Robert Hughes
SET FOR TRIAL: Robert Hughes at a previous court appearance.

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Hey Dad! star Robert Hughes has been found guilty of sexually and indecently assaulting young girls.

After almost 12 hours of deliberation over three days, the jury handed down their guilty verdict on nine of the 11 charges against Hughes.

They were unable to reach a unanimous verdict on the two  remaining counts.

Judge Peter Zahra directed them to continue deliberations on  those two charges.

The 65-year-old actor's partner, Robyn Gardiner, made no  reaction when the guilty verdicts were handed down.

After the jury was directed to retire again, Hughes stood up in  the dock and yelled: ''I am innocent.''

Hughes, who played Martin Kelly in the hit Australian TV show  Hey Dad!, had pleaded not guilty to 11 sexual and indecent assault  charges stemming from allegations he abused five girls during the  1980s and 1990s.

During his trial, which lasted almost six weeks, the jury heard  a range of allegations, from stories of Hughes wearing nothing  under a sarong and regularly exposing himself, to accusations he  abused a seven-year-old girl.

Now a woman, she told the court that Hughes had come into her  bedroom when she was sleeping at his home on Sydney's north shore  in the early 1980s.

She said Hughes forced her to touch him, afterwards saying she  was a ''good girl'' and to go back to sleep.

Female colleagues of the former star also gave evidence at the  trial. One woman alleged Hughes had looked at her and then ''dropped his  pants'', exposing his penis.

Hughes steadfastly denied all allegations.

He was supported throughout the trial by his partner Robyn  Gardiner and their daughter Jessica Hughes. Both women gave  evidence in his defence.

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- Sydney Morning Herald

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