Child star 'crying with happiness' over Hughes arrest

Sarah Monahan ... and as she appeared in the Hey Dad cast.
Sarah Monahan ... and as she appeared in the Hey Dad cast. Photo: Supplied

Former Hey Dad! actress Sarah Monahan tweeted that she was  "crying with happiness" following the arrest of her co-star Robert Hughes, on child sex charges this week.  Monahan played Hughes' youngest on-screen daughter, Jenny. During a televised interview in March 2010 Monahan alleged that she and other child stars were abused by Hughes in the late 1980s.

Ms Monahan says she was woken at 2am at her home in the US yesterday by a text message from detectives to tell her that Hughes had been arrested.

"Wow, it's 3am here and my twitter box is exploding," she wrote on Twitter.

Former star of Hey Dad! ... Robert Hughes, has been arrested in London.
Former star of Hey Dad! ... Robert Hughes, has been arrested in London. Photo: Ken James

"Well I got the call at 2am my time, promised I wouldn't leak it out till they made their official announcement."

"Thanks to the team at Strike Force Ruskin. Lots of hard work by all. You guys rock.''

Hughes, 63, faces 11 child sexual offences against five girls in Australia and has been bailed in London on strict conditions including electronic tagging, a night-time curfew and a ban on being alone with anyone aged under 16.

Hughes is accused of having indecently exposed himself to two girls including a nine-year-old friend of his daughter; to have made a 15-year-old girl touch him inappropriately through his clothes and to have exposed himself to a 13-year-old member of the cast of the hit 80s TV program Hey Dad!

He is also accused of indecent assault against a nine-year-old and four counts involving a six-year-old girl.

The charges relate to the period from 1985-1990 and carry maximum sentences of between two and 10 years.

The Australian Government is seeking his extradition and its lawyer, Katherine Tyler, told the court Hughes was a risk and should not be bailed. She argued that he had the financial means to flee, had contacts in Singapore, to which he often travelled, and that he had a motive to flee because he was facing serious charges that would affect his ability to earn a living in future.

District Judge Michael Snow said he understood that this kind of offence was related to compulsive behaviour, which meant there might also be a risk of re-offending.

But Hughes's lawer, Robert Katz, argued that his client had repeatedly tried to make contact with Australian prosecutors to offer himself for interview but that his lawyer had been rebuffed. "It's clear that he's been seeking to cooperate as best he can."

He said Hughes and his wife had moved to Singapore in 2004 and to London in 2010 and that he had a son, daughter and son-in-law living in Singapore.

Judge Snow set bail at £60,000. He said he was taking into account Hughes's age, the fact that he had no previous convictions, and that these were only allegations that had yet to be proved. He set eight conditions, including a ban on Hughes entering any port or airport, or St Pancras station (which has the Eurostar). Hughes's English and Australian passports were to remain confiscated and he was not to apply for any international travel documents, the judge said.

But Judge Snow did accept a defence request to deny the media access to court documents including the charge sheet. He said this was because this was an early stage of the extradition process, because the charges were sexual and because they related to alleged victims who had been minors.

“It seems to me that their rights in not having the matters revealed in detail at this stage need to be taken into account,” he said.

Hughes' appearance followed his arrest in London at 7am local time. He is due to appear in court again on 19 September for an extradition-related hearing.

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