Disgraced Hey Dad! actor and convicted child sex offender Robert Hughes is set to be deported to Britain after being granted parole.
The 73-year-old, who continues to deny his crimes in the face of “overwhelming evidence”, will be released no later than June 14.
Hughes, who starred as Martin Kelly in the TV comedy from 1987 to 1994, previously had been rejected twice by the NSW State Parole Authority.
But on Thursday it granted him parole, being satisfied his release, after more than eight years behind bars, was in the interests of the safety of the community.
“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.
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 had consistently been assessed as a below-average risk of sexually reoffending.
This prevented his accessing any sex-offender treatment programs while in custody.
But Hughes and his wife had undertaken that once back in the community he would 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 SPA noted the last of his charged offences happened three decades ago.
“The offences took place in particular settings in which the offender abused his power and his position of trust,” it said.
“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.”
Hughes, who renounced his Australian citizenship in 2020, will be deported to Britain on his release because he is a non-lawful citizen.
While deportation removes him from the jurisdiction of NSW and any SPA order, Australian Border Force has advised it will notify British authorities of his imminent return.
He will be monitored by them and subject to “notifications requirements” under the UK Sexual Offences Act.
They include reporting to police within three days of his return to Britain, and to notify them if he intends to stay, for a period of at least 12 hours, at a household where a child is present.
Lifeline 131 114
Kids Helpline 1800 551 800 (for people aged five to 25)