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Former 'Hey Dad!' star Robert Hughes sentenced to 10 years in prison

ABC News logo ABC News 16/05/2014
Former 'Hey Dad!' star Robert Hughes outside of Downing Centre Local Court. © Nicolas Walker/Fairfax Media Former 'Hey Dad!' star Robert Hughes outside of Downing Centre Local Court.

Former Hey Dad! star Robert Hughes has been jailed for up to 10 years and 9 months for child sex offences.

The 65-year-old, who was is convicted of 10 sexual and indecent assault charges dating back to the 1980s last month, will have to serve a minimum of six years behind bars.

District Court Judge Peter Zahra outlined each of the guilty charges against Hughes in his sentencing remarks, and raised the testimony of one victim who said she was too young to fight him off.

He said Hughes took advantage of opportunities with children and engaged in predatory behaviour and had "not expressed remorse".

Judge Zahra also noted Hughes is in protective custody in jail and will continue to feel "social isolation".

Hughes had pleaded not guilty to 11 charges of sexually or indecently assaulting five girls between 1985 and 1990.

The charges relate to the abuse of girls dating back to the 1980s, when Hughes appeared on one of Australia's most popular television sitcoms.

The victims were aged between seven and 15 years old at the time of the offences.

Dozens of people packed into the Sydney courtroom for the sentencing, prompting the closure of the public gallery on safety grounds.

Earlier this month Hughes's sentencing hearing heard harrowing victim impact statements from girls still suffering from the abuse they endured.

One woman, now 37, said she would never have children because of Hughes, and had come to hate the word "dad".

Another told the court that she wished Hughes "nothing but misery".

"I hate anyone looking at me. I have no self worth," she said.

"I never thought I'd see this day. For 26 years I've tried to deal with the fact that this just happened. Maybe now I can try to piece my life together again, to not feel ashamed or dirty.

"I hope the punishment fits the crime and you will have to suffer for years to come just like I have ... I wish you nothing but misery."

The jury initially returned a guilty verdict on nine of the charges against Hughes, before taking one more day to find him guilty of a final indecency charge dating back to 1990.

The jury was unable to reach a verdict on one charge of indecency charge.

One of the victims who Hughes indecently assaulted was seven when he put her hand on his genitals.

Another child was nine when Hughes told her to swim between his legs at Manly Beach. His swimmers were pulled down.

During the trial the court heard of sleepovers at Hughes's home where the actor would walk naked into the room where the girls were sleeping and expose himself to them.

Hughes denied this, saying he slept naked and often used the bathroom at night but would never walk into the room where the girls were staying.

The trial lasted almost six weeks.

When the verdicts were read out Hughes stood up in the dock and yelled: "I am innocent."

The actor is expected to appeal against the sentence.

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