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Paedophile Hey Dad! star Robert Hughes is released from jail and will be deported to the UK within hours despite continuing to deny all of his crimes

June 2022

  • Ex-Hey Dad! star Robert Hughes, 73, is awaiting deportation at Sydney Airport
  • The convicted paedophile was released from jail just after midnight on Tuesday
  • Hughes will be deported to the UK and monitored under the Sexual Offences Act
  • His victim and former TV daughter Sarah Monahan said Hughes is still a ‘denier’

Disgraced Hey Dad! actor and convicted child sex offender Robert Hughes has been released from prison and will be deported to the UK today after being granted parole.

The 73-year-old was granted parole on June 2 by the NSW State Parole Authority, which determined he be released no later than Tuesday.

He was released from Long Bay Correctional Facility just after midnight on Tuesday and is at Villawood Detention Centre awaiting deportation from Sydney Airport.

The paedophile actor was released under the cover of darkness as the clock ticked over and into the custody of Australian Border Force officers, who are expected to ensure he is flown straight out of the country.

Former Hey Dad! star Robert Hughes (above) is awaiting deportation to the UK after he was released from Long Bay Correctional Facility just after midnight on Tuesday

Hughes renounced his Australian citizenship in 2020, thus becoming a non-lawful citizen requiring deportation upon release.

Australian Border Force, who usually handles the deportation of convicted criminals who are not Australian citizens, said it did not comment on operational matters.

During his parole hearing the SPA said it had been satisfied that after eight years behind bars Hughes’ release was in the interests of the safety of the community.

Hughes, who starred as Martin Kelly in the TV comedy from 1987 to 1994, was previously rejected twice by the SPA.

‘The offender has been assessed as below average risk,’ SPA chairperson David Frearson and four panel members said.

‘He intends to live with his wife and does not intend to seek employment.’

Hughes was jailed in 2014 for 10 years and nine months with a non-parole period of six years, which expired in April 2020.

Hughes (bottom left) was jailed in 2014 on 10 charges relating to sexual and indecent acts perpetrated on four young girls, including his on-screen daughter Sarah Monahan (bottom centre), in the 1980s and 1990s

A jury found him guilty of 10 charges relating to sexual and indecent acts perpetrated on four young girls in the 1980s and 1990s.

Hughes continues to deny his crimes despite ‘overwhelming evidence’.

The victims included his former on-screen daughter Sarah Monahan, who attended his third parole hearing.

‘He’s an old man and he’s frail, but they don’t change, and he’s a denier,’ Ms Monahan said.

‘He still thinks he hasn’t done anything.’

The SPA acknowledged the ‘profound and deleterious effects on the victims… continue to this day and will probably be lifelong consequences’.

‘It must be particularly galling for the victims to observe the offender’s continued and obstinate denials in the face of compelling and overwhelming evidence from multiple witnesses,’ it said.

The SPA accepted expert evidence that Hughes was consistently assessed as a below-average risk of sexually reoffending.

This prevented his accessing any sex-offender treatment programs while in custody.

Victim Ms Monahan (above) said Hughes is still a ‘denier’ of any wrongdoing, despite ‘overwhelming evidence’ proving his crimes

Hughes will live with his wife Robyn Gardiner in the UK. Ms Gardiner told the parole authority she will keep him away from children when unsupervised.

He and his wife gave undertakings that once back in the community he will seek treatment with Rachel Pike, a clinical psychologist specialising in convicted sex offenders who deny their crimes.

This would assist with his reintegration and reduce his risk of re-offending.

‘The offender’s wife expressed her intention to continue to provide emotional support upon his release,’ the authority wrote in its decision.

‘Additionally, she advised that she has arranged post release accommodation for the offender to reside with her upon his eventual return to London.

‘Whilst she believes in his innocence, she expressed her intention to ensure that the offender does not have unsupervised contact with children. 

‘She advised that she intends to encourage him to engage in psychological counselling.’  

The SPA noted the last of his crimes took place three decades ago.

The offences took place in particular settings in which the offender abused his power and his position of trust,’ it said.

‘He no longer enjoys such power or trust, as a direct consequence of the convictions and the consequent widespread adverse publicity, notwithstanding his defiant denials.’

Once in the UK, Hughes (above) will be monitored under the Sexual Offences Act ‘notifications requirements’ including notifying authorities if he intends to stay at a household for more than 12 hours where a child is present

While allegations against Hughes were raised in the 1990s, it took a paid television interview by Ms Monahan in 2010 to spark a broad police investigation into claims of sexual misconduct by the actor.

His victims included a family friend, friends of his daughter, and Ms Monahan.

Hughes made his third attempt at parole following two failed attempts. His minimum sentence of six years made him eligible for parole on April 6, 2020.

Judge Peter Zahra, who died suddenly last month, handed down the sentence with strong condemnation against Hughes.

‘He engaged in brazen predatory behaviour; he planned and orchestrated the occasions when the conduct occurred. His conduct was persistent and calculated,’ he said.

‘He abused his position of trust and exploited the naivety and youth of the children.

‘The profound and deleterious effects on the victims for many years, if not the whole of their lives. The victims here remain deeply disturbed by the conduct of the offender.’

The NSW State Parole Authority said Hughes (top left) was unlikely to reoffend considering his crimes took place several decades ago and were in a situation where he ‘abused his power and his position of trust’ which he ‘no longer enjoys’

Australian Border Force advised it will notify British authorities of Hughes’ imminent return.

Hughes will be monitored in the UK under the Sexual Offences Act ‘notifications requirements’.

He must report to police within three days of his return to the UK, and once a year from then on and within three days of changing his details.

He will be required to provide passport and banking details and must notify police of any intention to travel out of the UK. 

Hughes must also provide details of where he lives and where he regularly stays if different to his home address. 

‘There is a requirement to notify police if he going to stay (for a period of at least 12 hours) at a household where a child is present,’ the parole authority noted.

He will be sent back to jail for up to six months if he fails to fulfil these conditions.

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