Robert Hughes (Australian actor)

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Robert Hughes
Robert Lindsay Hughes

(1948-08-19) 19 August 1948 (age 71)
OccupationActor, voice actor, musician
Years active1976–2013
Known forHey Dad..!, ABBA: The Movie
Criminal statusIncarcerated
Spouse(s)Robyn Gardiner
Conviction(s)Two counts of sexual assault, seven counts of indecent assault and one count of committing an indecent act involving girls from 6 to 15
Criminal penalty10 years 9 months' imprisonment (6 years non-parole)

Robert Lindsay Hughes (born 19 August 1948 in Sydney, New South Wales) is an Australian former actor, voice actor, and musician, whose most significant roles include ABBA: The Movie and the television sitcom Hey Dad..!. In May 2014, he was convicted of sexual offences against children and sentenced to 10 years and 9 months' imprisonment with a minimum non-parole period of 6 years.[1]

Early career[edit]

Hughes first worked as a cadet journalist for The Sydney Morning Herald.[2]

Hughes was briefly the bass player for the pop/country rock band the Flying Circus in 1967–68, billed as Bob Hughes, before they had hits with the songs "Hayride" and "La La".[3]


Hughes has acted extensively in Australian theatre, film and television. He was a Sydney Theatre Company company artist from 1981. His theatre roles have included The War Horse and Great Big Adventure Book for Boys. His television roles include Chopper Squad, Cop Shop, The Sullivans, Skyways, Tickled Pink, The Paul Hogan Show, Dick Emery in Australia, Daily at Dawn, The Timeless Land, Kingswood Country, The Flying Doctors, A Country Practice, Learned Friends, Prisoner and The New Adventures of Blinky Bill. His film roles include Cathy's Child, Fatty Finn, ABBA: The Movie and Squizzy Taylor.[4] Following this he played the lead role in Hey Dad..! from 1987 until leaving the series in 1993.

Hughes did not participate in two Hey Dad..! cast reunions: on the television series Where Are They Now? in 2006,[5] and a radio reunion on Brisbane station B105 FM in 2009.[6]

In 1979, he was on the Australian spin-off version of the British show Love Thy Neighbour in Australia. Only seven episodes were created.


Year Title Role
1977 ABBA: The Movie Ashley Wallace
1979 Cathy's Child Mike
1980 Fatty Finn Percy
1981 Winter of Our Dreams Martin Harris
1982 Squizzy Taylor Reg Harvey
1982 Deadline Fletcher
1984 The Great Gold Swindle Brian Mickelberg
1996 Race the Sun Judd Potter
1999 First Daughter Dan
2000 Nowhere to Land AFP Bill Ryan

Allegations of sexual misconduct, arrest, and conviction[edit]

In March 2010, Sarah Monahan alleged that Hughes, who then was living in Singapore, had engaged in inappropriate sexual behaviour on the set of the Hey Dad..! show. Fellow cast members Ben Oxenbould and Simone Buchanan commented in support of her allegations.[7] On 29 March, police announced the creation of a strike force to investigate Monahan's claims.[8] Monahan said she spent more than 35 hours testifying to police.[9] In September 2010, six months after the allegations were published, it was reported that more than 100 people had been interviewed. Police had not yet spoken to Hughes and were weighing up whether a formal interview would take place.[10]

In an interview broadcast on Channel Nine's A Current Affair on 14 March 2011, a niece of Hughes's claimed that she had also been molested by him.[11] Hughes's daughter rejected the allegations and questioned why these accusations had not been raised earlier.[12]

A mother of a victim later said: "We first went to [New South Wales] police about Hughes in 1988 when my daughter was nine years old" and says she was told by the investigating detective "I've tried to get this guy but every time I do someone covers for him".[13] NSW Police had interviewed Hughes about claims of sexual abuse as early as 1985.[14]

Hughes was arrested in London in August 2012 and the New South Wales government sought his extradition to Australia. He was granted bail and a hearing was held on 19 September 2012.[15] At that hearing, Hughes indicated that he intended to return to Australia for questioning.[16] After being extradited to Australia, Hughes was charged with 11 counts of child sexual abuse and released on bail.[17]

His trial started on 10 February 2014, at Downing Centre District Court where he pleaded not guilty to eleven charges.[18] In April 2014, the jury found Hughes guilty of two counts of sexual assault, seven counts of indecent assault[19] and one count of committing an indecent act. A final charge, relating to an indecent act with a child under the age of sixteen, resulted in a hung jury. No outcome was recorded in relation to this charge.[20]

On 16 May 2014, Hughes was sentenced to 10 years and 9 months' imprisonment with a minimum non-parole period of 6 years. His earliest date of eligibility for release will be in April 2020 when he will be aged 71.[1] After sentencing, Hughes was sent to Goulburn Correctional Centre, where his fellow inmates doused him in human excreta (urine/feces) upon his arrival, despite his being in protective custody.[21] Prison officials constructed a wall of wire screening to deflect further attacks upon Hughes's person.[22]

Hughes appealed to the Court of Criminal Appeal, but his appeal was rejected on 21 December 2015.[23] The court did, however, mandate that Hughes's allegations of physical abuse in prison be referred to the Minister for Justice and the Commissioner for Corrective Services.[23] On 18 January 2016, Hughes lodged an appeal with the High Court of Australia.[24] Hughes has since lost his High Court challenge to child sex convictions.[25]


  1. ^ a b "Robert Hughes sentenced for child sex offences". SBS News. 16 May 2014.
  2. ^ "The Flying Circus". Retrieved 27 March 2010.
  3. ^ "Flying Circus". Retrieved 27 March 2010.
  4. ^ Atterton, Margot. (Ed.) The Illustrated Encyclopaedia of Australian Showbiz, Sunshine Books, 1984. ISBN 0-86777-057-0 p 111
  5. ^ Fife-Yeomans, Janet (27 March 2010). "Every family has its secrets – inside the seemingly perfect world of Hey Dad". Retrieved 27 March 2010.
  6. ^ "Hey Dad Cast Reunion". 2009. Retrieved 27 March 2010.
  7. ^ Hornery, Andrew; Geesche Jacobson (27 March 2010). "Hey Dad star to see police over sex claims". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 29 March 2010.
  8. ^ Ralston, Nick (29 March 2010). "Strike force to probe Hey Dad! claims". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 29 March 2010.
  9. ^ Fife-Yeomans, Janet (18 May 2010). "Child star Sarah Monahan's police 'therapy'". Retrieved 18 May 2010.
  10. ^ "Hey Dad star still to be questioned". The Sunday Telegraph (Sydney). 26 September 2010. Retrieved 2 October 2010.
  11. ^ "Niece Melinda O'Donnell claims Hey Dad! star Robert Hughes molested her". 14 March 2011. Retrieved 14 March 2011.
  12. ^ Deery, # Shannon (15 March 2011). "Daughter of Hey Dad! star Robert Hughes rejects sex abuse claims". Herald Sun. The Herald and Weekly Times. Retrieved 15 March 2011.
  13. ^ Bibby, Paul (11 May 2014). "Mother of Hey Dad! victim speaks out". Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 12 May 2014.
  14. ^ Bibby, Paul (16 May 2014). "Robert Hughes from Hey Dad! sentenced to six years in jail for child sex abuse". Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 17 May 2014.
  15. ^ "Hey Dad! star Robert Hughes arrested in London over sex assault". 9 August 2012. Retrieved 9 August 2012.
  16. ^ Wald, Tom (28 September 2012). "Former Hey Dad! TV star Robert Hughes to be extradited to Australia". Herald Sun. AAP. Retrieved 28 September 2012.
  17. ^ "Hey Dad! star charged over alleged child sexual assaults". (13 December 2012). ABC News, Australian Broadcasting Corporation. Retrieved 13 December 2012.
  18. ^ Bibby, Paul (10 February 2014). "Hey Dad! star Robert Hughes pleads not guilty to child sex offences". Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 12 February 2014.
  19. ^ Paul Bibby (7 April 2014). "Robert Hughes from 'Hey Dad!' found guilty of sexually assaulting girls". Retrieved 7 April 2014.
  20. ^ Bibby, Paul (8 April 2014). "Hey Dad! star found guilty of exposing himself on set of show". Retrieved 8 April 2014.
  21. ^ "Hey Dad actor covered in poo". NewsComAu. Retrieved 28 October 2016.
  22. ^ "Prison wall to stop 'urine' attacks on Robert Hughes". NewsComAu. Retrieved 28 October 2016.
  23. ^ a b Kidd, Jessica; Staff (21 December 2015). "Hey Dad! star Robert Hughes loses appeal against sexual offence conviction". ABC News. ABC. Retrieved 21 December 2015.
  24. ^ "Hey Dad! star Robert Hughes appeals against sexual assault conviction". Yahoo!7. Yahoo!7. 18 January 2016. Retrieved 18 January 2016.
  25. ^ "Hey Dad! star Robert Hughes loses High Court fight against child sex convictions". ABC. ABC. 14 June 2017. Retrieved 14 June 2017.

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