In the Media

Hey Dad! actor 'sexually abused child co-star from popular Australian show'

PUBLISHED September 19, 2012

The 64 year-old allegedly molested at least five girls, some aged as young as six, including a former co-star from the popular 1980s comedy show Hey Dad!

The actor, once considered one of Australia's biggest television stars, is accused of indecent exposure and sexually assault on the girls dating back almost three decades.

Australian authorities are seeking his extradition to Sydney where he faces 11 charges relating to the children who were aged between six and 15.

One alleged victim includes Sarah Monahan, who starred as one of his "daughters" on the hit show and who went public with her allegations a couple of years ago.

The actor, who now lives in Paddington, west London, is also accused of abusing a friend of his daughter and the daughters of a family friend between 1985 and 1990.

New South Wales police are seeking his extradition back to Australia where he faces up to 10 years in jail if convicted.

Hughes, who played a single parent in the sitcom, was arrested during a dawn raid at his luxury London home last month by British detectives acting on behalf of the Australian Federal Police.

The charges followed an ``exhaustive'' two-year police investigation that involved interviewing more than 200 witnesses, many of whom were connected to the programme.

Today, he appeared at an extradition hearing at Westminster magistrates' court, where his lawyers indicated he wanted to return to his home country to face his accusers.

Dressed in a dark suit and tie, he only spoke to confirm his name, date of birth and address during the brief appearance.

Rachel Kapila, for Hughes, told the court her client wanted to face the allegations soon as possible and would not oppose extradition.

She said a short hearing lasting up to 20 minutes should be sufficient to conclude the extradition proceedings.

"Mr Hughes is keen not to delay the proceedings any more than necessary and get back and prove his innocence,'' she said.

The court has heard that he had regularly travelled between Thailand and Britain since leaving Australia and wanted to move his family to the UK permanently.

His bail conditions include that he stays at his home address, abides by a nightly 8pm to 6am curfew, does not travel abroad and wears an electronic tag.

He is also prevented from being alone with any child aged under 16. He spent a night in the cells after a previous court hearing while a £60,000 surety was paid to secure bail.

Hughes appeared in 265 episodes of the Seven Network show, Australia's longest running sitcom, as architect Martin Kelly between 1987 and 1994.

He has consistently denied the claims and declined to comment outside court. He returns to court next week.