THE star of one of Australia's most watched television shows, Robert Hughes, sat in the dock of a Sydney court on Thursday facing 11 child sex charges that date back to the 1980s.
His solicitor, Greg Walsh, said outside the court that Mr Hughes, 64, denied ''each and every one of the allegations'' against him. His celebrity agent wife, Robyn Gardiner, who was at Sydney's Central Local Court, is standing by him as he contests the charges.
The 11 offences relate to five girls aged between seven to 15 years at the time of the alleged abuse, which coincided with the actor's lead role as Martin Kelly in Hey Dad.!
Former Hey Dad! actor Robert Hughes leaves Central Local Court having being granted bail. Photo: Wolter Peeters
The abuse is alleged to have taken place in Sydney's northern suburbs.
Mr Hughes was not required to enter a plea when he made a brief appearance before Magistrate Julie Huber, who granted the actor strict conditional bail following his offer of $50,000 as surety.
He also must also report to police three times a week, forfeit his passport and live at the one address - a serviced apartment in the central business district.
Mr Hughes's court appearance came only hours after he arrived back in Sydney under police escort having been extradited from London following his arrest in August. He was taken from the airport to Surry Hills police station where he exercised his right not to be interviewed by detectives before he was formally charged.
Mr Walsh said it was a relief that his client had been granted bail but said he expected that given the public interest in his case, his client would spend most of his time confined to his inner-city dwellings.
''It's going to be very difficult for him. He'll be residing in a room not much bigger than a cell,'' Mr Walsh said. ''I don't think he'll be leaving his room except to go and report to police. It's a very difficult life for him.''
Mr Walsh said Mr Hughes had been interviewed by detectives at Chatswood over the allegations years ago and had strenuously denied any wrongdoing.
The evidence amassed against his client was extensive, he said, but there would be difficulties in the case for both sides with the allegations dating back almost three decades.
Mr Walsh said Ms Gardiner had flown back from London this week to support her husband adding that the pair are ''very close and have a loving relationship''.
The charges yesterday followed a two and half year investigation by NSW police's sex crime squad who interviewed more than 200 people as part of their inquiries.
Head of the sex crime squad, Detective Superintendent John Kerlatec, said police did not expect to lay any further charges than the 11 in relation to these alleged victims.
''All the [alleged] victims have been contacted. They are pleased with the progress to this stage,'' Detective Superintendent Kerlatec said.
''We still have a long way to go, we are focused on the victims and allowing them to have their say in court but also we must remember the accused has the right to defend these matters.''
He did however not rule out the possibility that more alleged victims could come forward.
The case returns to court on January 29.