Former Hey Dad! star Robert Hughes, 63, faces 11 child sexual offences against five girls in Australia and has been bailed in London on strict conditions including electronic tagging, a night-time curfew and a ban on being alone with anyone aged under 16.
Hughes is accused of having indecently exposed himself to two girls including a nine-year-old friend of his daughter; to have made a 15-year-old girl touch him inappropriately through his clothes and to have exposed himself to a 13-year-old member of the cast of the hit 80s TV program Hey Dad!
He is also accused of indecent assault against a nine-year-old and four counts involving a six-year-old girl.
The charges relate to the period from 1985-1990 and carry maximum sentences of between two and 10 years.
Head of the NSW Sex Crimes Squad, Detective Superintendent John Kerlatec, today said the investigation had taken it's toll on the victims, and his detectives.
"In excess of 200 people were interviewed … it's been an exhaustive investigation, it's been scrutinised by many lawyers at the office of the Director of Public Prosecution," he said.
In addition to the five alleged victims, Superintendent Kerlatec said police had spoken to "friends, associates, and family members" of Hughes along with others that had come forward with information.
"It's been a very trying time, it's a matter of dealing with numerous victims, witnesses and the scrutiny of (media)," he said.
He said the alleged victims have reacted with "a sense of great relief" to the news of Hughes' arrest, many still bearing the scars of their alleged ordeal.
"Every day they relive it, some don't cope very well," Superintendent Kerlatec said.
He refuted claims made in court by a lawyer for Hughes that the actor had been in regular in contact with the police.
"We've had no contact with Hughes. We did have preliminary contact with a Sydney based lawyer and (that was it)," he said.
He said he did not believe there were more victims, but police would welcome any further information from the public as the case proceeded.
He also urged anyone who had been a victim of sexual assault to contact police.
The Australian Government is seeking his extradition and its lawyer, Katherine Tyler, told the court Hughes was a risk and should not be bailed. She argued that he had the financial means to flee, had contacts in Singapore, to which he often travelled, and that he had a motive to flee because he was facing serious charges that would affect his ability to earn a living in future.
District Judge Michael Snow said he understood that this kind of offence was related to compulsive behaviour, which meant there might also be a risk of re-offending.
But Hughes's lawyer, Robert Katz, argued that his client had repeatedly tried to make contact with Australian prosecutors to offer himself for interview but that his lawyer had been rebuffed. "It's clear that he's been seeking to cooperate as best he can."
He said Hughes and his wife had moved to Singapore in 2004 and to London in 2010 and that he had a son, daughter and son-in-law living in Singapore.
Judge Snow set bail at £60,000. He said he was taking into account Hughes's age, the fact that he had no previous convictions, and that these were only allegations that had yet to be proved. He set eight conditions, including a ban on Hughes entering any port or airport, or St Pancras station (which has the Eurostar). Hughes's English and Australian passports were to remain confiscated and he was not to apply for any international travel documents, the judge said.
But Judge Snow did accept a defence request to deny the media access to court documents including the charge sheet. He said this was because this was an early stage of the extradition process, because the charges were sexual and because they related to alleged victims who had been minors.
“It seems to me that their rights in not having the matters revealed in detail at this stage need to be taken into account,” he said.
Hughes' appearance followed his arrest in London at 7am local time. He is due to appear in court again on 19 September for an extradition-related hearing.