Disgraced Hey Dad! actor and convicted child sex offender Robert Hughes has been released from prison and will be deported to the UK today after being granted parole.
The 73-year-old was granted parole on June 2 by the NSW State Parole Authority, which determined he be released no later than Tuesday.
He was released from Long Bay Correctional Facility just after midnight on Tuesday and is awaiting deportation from Sydney Airport.
Former Hey Dad! star Robert Hughes (above) is awaiting deportation to the UK after he was released from Long Bay Correctional Facility just after midnight on Tuesday
Hughes renounced his Australian citizenship in 2020, thus becoming a non-lawful citizen requiring deportation upon release.
Australian Border Force, who usually handles the deportation of convicted criminals who are not Australian citizens, said it did not comment on operational matters.
During his parole hearing the SPA said it had been satisfied that after eight years behind bars Hughes’ release was in the interests of the safety of the community.
Hughes, who starred as Martin Kelly in the TV comedy from 1987 to 1994, was previously rejected twice by the SPA.
Hughes (bottom left) was jailed in 2014 on 10 charges relating to sexual and indecent acts perpetrated on four young girls, including his on-screen daughter Sarah Monahan (bottom centre), in the 1980s and 1990s
‘The offender has been assessed as below average risk,’ SPA chairperson David Frearson and four panel members said.
‘He intends to live with his wife and does not intend to seek employment.’
Hughes was jailed in 2014 for 10 years and nine months with a non-parole period of six years, which expired in April 2020.
A jury found him guilty of 10 charges relating to sexual and indecent acts perpetrated on four young girls in the 1980s and 1990s.
Victim Ms Monahan (above) said Hughes is still a ‘denier’ of any wrongdoing, despite ‘overwhelming evidence’ proving his crimes
Hughes continues to deny his crimes despite ‘overwhelming evidence’.
The victims included his former on-screen daughter Sarah Monahan, who attended his third parole hearing.
‘He’s an old man and he’s frail, but they don’t change, and he’s a denier,’ Ms Monahan said.
‘He still thinks he hasn’t done anything.’
The SPA acknowledged the ‘profound and deleterious effects on the victims… continue to this day and will probably be lifelong consequences’.
‘It must be particularly galling for the victims to observe the offender’s continued and obstinate denials in the face of compelling and overwhelming evidence from multiple witnesses,’ it said.
The SPA accepted expert evidence that Hughes was consistently assessed as a below-average risk of sexually reoffending.
This prevented his accessing any sex-offender treatment programs while in custody.
Once in the UK, Hughes (above) will be monitored under the Sexual Offences Act ‘notifications requirements’ including notifying authorities if he intends to stay at a household for more than 12 hours where a child is present
Hughes will live with his wife Robyn Gardiner in the UK. Ms Gardiner told the parole authority she will keep him away from children when unsupervised.
He and his wife gave undertakings that once back in the community he will seek treatment with a clinical psychologist specialising in convicted sex offenders who deny their crimes.
This would assist with his reintegration and reduce his risk of re-offending.
‘The offender’s wife expressed her intention to continue to provide emotional support upon his release,’ the authority wrote in its decision.
‘Additionally, she advised that she has arranged post release accommodation for the offender to reside with her upon his eventual return to London.
‘Whilst she believes in his innocence, she expressed her intention to ensure that the offender does not have unsupervised contact with children.
‘She advised that she intends to encourage him to engage in psychological counselling.’
The SPA noted the last of his charged offences took place three decades ago.
‘The offences took place in particular settings in which the offender abused his power and his position of trust,’ it said.
The NSW State Parole Authority said Hughes (top left) was unlikely to reoffend considering his crimes took place several decades ago and were in a situation where he ‘abused his power and his position of trust’ which he ‘no longer enjoys’
‘He no longer enjoys such power or trust, as a direct consequence of the convictions and the consequent widespread adverse publicity, notwithstanding his defiant denials.’
Australian Border Force advised it will notify British authorities of Hughes’ imminent return.
He will be monitored in the UK under the Sexual Offences Act ‘notifications requirements’ including reporting to police within three days of his return, and to notify authorities if he intends to stay at a household for more than 12 hours where a child is present.
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