Victims of former Hey Dad! actor Robert Hughes have appeared at a hearing to consider his potential release from prison.
Convicted paedophile and ex-Australian TV star Robert Hughes should be released from prison because there is a low risk he will reoffend, a court has been told.
The 73-year-old former star of sitcom Hey Dad! is currently serving a 10 year and nine-month prison sentence for historic child sex offences, including sexual intercourse without consent and multiple acts of indecent assault.
His six year non-parole period expired in 2020 and the NSW State Parole Authority has twice refused him parole.
The authority held a public hearing in Sydney on Friday after earlier requesting a psychological report about Hughes’ risk of reoffending.
Addressing the hearing, Hughes’ legal representative said he had “consistently been assessed as either medium, below risk or low risk of reoffending”.
“Whilst in custody it makes him ineligible for programs, he is ineligible for any sex offender programs … there are no further programs that he can complete whilst in custody that would go to reducing his risk of reoffending,” the legal representative said.
“It’s not a situation where he will be completely unmonitored when released to the community.
“He’s a gentleman towards the end of his years. His focus on release is maintaining a very low profile.”
The hearing was told Hughes’ wife Robyn Gardner maintained her support for him and had made contact with a psychologist specialising in treating sex offenders like Hughes who maintain their innocence.
If parole is granted Hughes will be immediately deported to the UK after he renounced his Australian citizenship and the federal government cancelled his residency visa.
In the UK Hughes will be required to notify authorities about his whereabouts and personal circumstances, with his legal representative telling the hearing there would be “significant sanctions” if the notification orders were breached.
Several of the victims Hughes targeted in the 1980s and ’90s, including former co-star Sarah Monahan, were present in court for the hearing and he showed no emotion as he appeared via audiovisual link on a screen from prison.
According to court documents, the bulk of Hughes’ crimes were committed before he secured the lead role of widowed dad Martin Kelly on the hit Channel 7 sitcom that ran for seven years.
While in jail, Hughes claimed he was subject to constant verbal and physical abuse that included excrement, urine and boiling water being thrown over him.
Hughes’ sentence is due to expire on January 6, 2025.
The parole board has reserved its decision.
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