Hey Dad! star protests innocence after verdict

By Lauren Farrow

Actor Robert Hughes. Photo / Getty Images
Actor Robert Hughes. Photo / Getty Images

After the jury handed down guilty verdict after guilty verdict, Hey Dad! actor Robert Hughes screamed out what he has been claiming all along: "I am innocent!"

The 65-year-old grabbed the side of the dock, stood up and yelled at the jury, after they declared him guilty of nine charges, which included two counts of sexual intercourse without consent.

As Hughes shook his head, his long-term partner and theatrical agent Robyn Gardiner sat expressionless, staring ahead.

The Sydney District Court jury will continue to deliberate today on two counts of committing an act of indecency after failing to reach a unanimous verdict.

Throughout his six-week trial, the jury heard how Hughes - who played Martin Kelly in the hit Australian TV show - abused five girls during the 1980s and 1990s.

One of his victims told the court how Hughes came 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.

When she was 7 years old, the girl's father told the court how she had come to him saying: "I don't like the games Robert plays with me".

Another victim described how, when she was 15, Hughes began to show a sexual interest in her, kissing her on the lips and saying: "You need to find a place to have sex because I'm far too old to have sex in a bush."

Other women, who weren't victims, also gave evidence for the crown case.

Three of these were former colleagues of the star.

They described various incidents of how Hughes made them feel uncomfortable on the Channel Seven set of the popular show.

He slept naked, rubbed up against them or, in one instance, dropped his pants and exposed himself, they said.

But Hughes has steadfastly denied all the allegations.

He repeatedly said "No, I did not", as the claims were put to him when he took the stand in the final weeks of the trial.

He has been supported throughout by Gardiner and their daughter Jessica Hughes, who both gave evidence in his defence.

After the jury told the court yesterday that they were unable to come to a unanimous decision on the remaining two charges, Judge Peter Zahra directed them to continue to deliberate, saying he will accept a majority verdict.

- AAP

© Copyright 2014, APN New Zealand Limited

Assembled by: (static) on production apcf05 at 28 Dec 2014 07:05:09 Processing Time: 478ms