News State NSW News Hughes’ victims tell of misery

Hughes’ victims tell of misery

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One of the victims of disgraced Hey Dad! star Robert Hughes says she was so badly affected by his abuse, it shaped her decision not to have children.

“He made me think that the world was a cold, evil place,” she said in a statement at Hughes’ sentencing hearing on Friday.

“I never want to risk having a kid in case they go through what I did.”

Almost a month ago Hughes was found guilty of 10 charges relating to the sexual and indecent assault of young girls in the 1980s and 1990s.

The woman, who met Hughes on the set of the popular TV show, was one of four victims to tell the Sydney District Court on Friday how the actor’s abuse had left an indelible mark on their lives.

One woman is afraid of the dark, another is battling eating disorders.

One of the women, who was assaulted by the actor multiple times before she was eight years old, said in a statement read by her father that the effect has been “immeasurable”.

“Twenty-eight years later I am still scared of what this man could do to hurt me again.”

Another victim said she hoped Hughes would “suffer for years” like her and her family, adding: “I wish you nothing but misery”.

Psychiatrist Dr Olav Neilssen said Hughes will deny he sexually and indecently assaulted young girls until his death.

“My prediction is that Mr Hughes will deny these offences to the grave but I don’t think that will affect his recidivism,” he said.

In written submissions, Hughes’s lawyer Greg Walsh argued that the 65-year-old’s age should be taken into consideration, as “each year of the sentence represents a substantial portion of the period of life which is left to him”.

He said Hughes has also been punished by the “enormous and constant amount of adverse publicity” which has resulted in a “truly exceptional” amount of public humiliation.

Hughes’s long-term partner, theatrical agent Robyn Gardiner attested to this in an affidavit filed to court, saying the actor had become “quite distressed” by the reports.

She argued that a large portion of the media reporting amounted to the “vilification of Robert as a human being” and that it had “ostracised him from society”.

“The conviction of Robert was truly devastating,” she added.

But while accepting the high degree of media scrutiny, Crown prosecutor Gina O’Rourke submitted a significant period of imprisonment was warranted.

He will be sentenced by Judge Peter Zahra on May 16.