Former Australian television actor Robert Hughes wants to return to Australia to face allegations he sexually and indecently assaulted five children, a London court has heard.
The string of 11 allegations against Hughes include sexually assaulting a friend of his daughters aged 6 0r 7, digital penetration of a 15-year-old, and exposing himself to a fellow cast-member aged 12 or 13 at the time.
Hughes appeared briefly in Westminster Magistrates Courts yesterday only to confirm his name, address, and date of birth.
Rachel Kapila, representing Hughes, requested the case be adjourned until next week. Telling the court her client wished to get on with proceedings without delays and “was keen to return to Australia to prove his innocence.” Oddly, last month preliminary hearing lawyer Robert Katz told the court Hughes did not consent to the extradition warrant.
Kapila told the court a short hearing of “15 to 20 minutes” would be sufficient for her client to complete the extradition hearing.
Judge Coleman told Hughes, aged 63, his strict bail conditions would continue including the £60, 000 surety, curfew, and electronic tagging. He is also prohibited from being unaccompanied in the presence of any person aged 16 or under, the court was told.
Hughes attended court dressed in a sharp black suit suit and blue tie – a contrast with last month’s appearance where the Australian media labelled him as “dishevelled”.
Last month British police arrested Hughes at his London WC2 address, serving him with an extradition warrant on behalf of the Australian Federal Police (ADF). After appearing briefly in court he spent the night in Wandsworth Prison while surety was arranged. The ADF seek to extradite Hughes for 11 alleged offences in relation to sexual and indecent assaults of five children committed between 1985 and 1990. At least one of the alleged offences carries a maximum jail term of 10-years.
Investigations were sparked by a former co-star in 2010 who went on Australian national television program A Current Affair to publicly accuse Hughes. New South Wales Police set up Strike Force Ruskin in 2010 to investigate the allegations after an official police complaint.
The prosecution argued last month that Hughes was a flight risk. The court heard Hughes has lived in London for the past two years and frequently travels between the UK and Singapore. Hughes, a dual UK and Australian citizen, had his passports seized and cannot enter an airport or St Pancras International. He is also prohibited from apply for an international travel document.
Robert Hughes will return to Westminster Magistrates Court next week on Friday 28th September.