Hey Dad! star arrives at court
RAW VISION: Robert Hughes arrives at Downing Centre District Court for his trial, ahead of pleading not guilty to 11 child-sex charges.PT0M46S http://www.canberratimes.com.au/action/externalEmbeddedPlayer?id=d-3549z 620 349 March 20, 2014
Hey Dad! star Robert Hughes has flatly denied allegations that he sexually assaulted a young girl as she lay in her bed, or that he repeatedly exposed himself to her and others.
On the 19th day of his trial at the Downing Centre District Court on 11 child-sex charges, the 65-year-old is, for the first time, providing his version of what happened.
He has pleaded not guilty.
Flat denial: Hey Dad! star Robert Hughes. Photo: Janie Barrett
Dressed in a navy blue suit with his grey hair parted down the side, Hughes denied the allegation that, some time in the early 1980s, he went into a teenage girl's bedroom and digitally penetrated her.
"Mr Hughes, there is an allegation that you touched her vagina. Did you ever do that?" his lawyer, Greg Walsh asked him.
"No, I did not," Hughes replied in a firm voice.
"Did you ever go into her bedroom when she was there?" Mr Walsh continued.
"No," he replied.
Earlier in the trial, the woman at the centre of this allegation recalled how, when she first met Hughes, he had been "friendly and interested in our lives", but that she began to feel uncomfortable when he started swimming naked in her family's pool at Roseville and touching her.
"It started to change when he started touching me ... just brushing past ... stroking up and down," she said.
On Thursday, Hughes also flatly denied that he had ever swum naked in the pool.
"There has been evidence that you, at least on one occasion, walked around the pool naked. What do you say about that?" Mr Walsh asked.
"That's incorrect," Hughes replied.
"What about that you were in the pool naked?" Mr Walsh continued.
"That didn't happen," he said.
He also denied touching the young woman inappropriately when he said hello or brushed past her in her home.
"I would either shake their hand or pat them on the arm or shoulder and say, 'How you going?'" Hughes said.
The court previously heard that the girl's mother had confronted the 65-year-old about the allegations, telling him: "If you ever go near any of my children again I'll call the police."
Hughes not only denied this conversation ever took place, but claimed that, during a subsequent houseboat trip, the woman had expressed romantic interest in his wife.
"I think she was bored with her marriage - she was showing an interest in [my wife], but we weren't interested in that," he said.
In response to the allegation that he regularly wore a sarong without underwear and would deliberately expose himself, Hughes said that he did wear a sarong after seeing a Tongan man wearing one, but that this was confined to gardening around his own home.
"I liked it and I thought it was good," he said of the sarong.
"Being an actor, it was a different piece of wardrobe."
Later, Hughes also denied the allegation that, during a trip to Manly Beach with two young girls, he had told one of them to swim between his legs while his penis was exposed and then trapped her by closing his legs.
The retired actor said that he had never been to Manly Beach with the young girl, let alone been involved in an incident of the type she described.
Hughes also denied the allegations of another alleged victim who claimed that, at the age of 15, he kissed her and forced her to masturbate him by placing her hand on his penis.
Again, Hughes not only denied that this offence occurred but rejected virtually all of the surrounding circumstances as well.
Hughes' 11 charges include sexual assault and indecent assaults on girls aged six to 15 and two counts of committing an act of indecency.
The trial continues.