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Melbourne man faces legal nightmare in Spain -

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Melbourne man faces legal nightmare in Spain

Reporter: Phillip Williams

KERRY O'BRIEN: Every year, thousands of young Australians venture overseas for the grand tour which
has become almost a rite of passage before settling down. But in the case of Melbourne man Adam
Dalton the trip of a lifetime has turned into an expensive nightmare. Arrested by Spanish police
seven months ago allegedly after a brief altercation with a drunken tourist, Adam Dalton was forced
to hand over his passport and has had to remain in Barcelona while local authorities complete their
investigations. Although he's not been charged, Mr Dalton has already been detained for longer than
he would if found guilty of assault. His family is facing a $100,000 legal bill that could force
the sale of their home. The Federal Government says it is doing all it can to help Mr Dalton but
argues it cannot interfere in Spanish proceedings. Philip Williams reports from Barcelona.

ADAM DALTON: It's a nightmare that I can't wake up from, that's what it is.

PHILIP WILLIAMS: For the last seven months, Adam Dalton has been stuck in legal limbo. His passport
confiscated, a court case due, who knows when? His family in Australia struggling financially and
emotionally, trying to get their boy back home.

ADAM DALTON: Mum's really struggling with it, you know. She's really, really struggling, Mum, same
as Dad. Dad's just the same. I've got really the best relationship in the world that I could have
with my father. He's like my best mate in the world. I miss him, yeah. Sorry, mate, I'm getting...
(chokes)

PHILIP WILLIAMS: It all began seven months ago on this street. Adam was out on the town in
Barcelona with his footy mates, all part of a European holiday of a lifetime.

ADAM DALTON: We were walkin' along this path to go to the next nightclub at the port. Just as I was
walking I felt someone push me from behind. As I sort of stumbled myself, I knocked the girl I was
with, and she landed on there, sort of put her hand out to stop herself from falling and me just
push - pushed him away, kept going to the next nightclub. From what I hear, he was meant to have
landed all the way over there.

PHILIP WILLIAMS: Over where?

ADAM DALTON: One of these light poles where he is meant to have is hit his head from a one-handed
push.

PHILIP WILLIAMS: That's a fair push isn't it?

ADAM DALTON: That's a real good push. You knew nothing of good push.

PHILIP WILLIAMS: You knew nothing of that?

ADAM DALTON: Nothing of it. I kept walking over to the port, to the next nightclub, went home to
bed, didn't think nothing of it, until they come five days later when they come and got me out of
me room.

PHILIP WILLIAMS: And the nightmare began.

ADAM DALTON: That's when it started.

PHILIP WILLIAMS: Despite witnesses saying he'd done nothing wrong, one person said he'd assaulted
an American, pushing him against a pole. The alleged victim remembers nothing. Adam Dalton was
arrested and thrown in jail for six weeks until he was bailed. Sharing his cell with murderers and
drug dealers.

ADAM DALTON: It's just really dirty. It reminded of the movie Midnight Express.

PHILIP WILLIAMS: Yet you'd rather go back into prison.

ADAM DALTON: I would volunteer to go back. If they said six, seven months and you're going home, I
would walk in there, no worries.

PHILIP WILLIAMS: It's the not knowing that's killing him, even if he is convicted, it's a maximum
one-and-a-half years in jail, automatically suspended. He'd be home to family, fiancee and his
beloved dog. Now, the only contact he has with his family is by phone. It's a vital link. The whole
experience an emotional drain for all, and a financial sink hole that's cost his parents around
$150,000 in legal fees and living expenses. And rising every day.

ADAM DALTON: I'm their son and I'm stuck over here, and my dad's always been there, no matter what
happens, he knows he can always bail me out of trouble, he can always sort somethin' out and get me
out of trouble, but there time there's nothin' he can do.

SHANE DALTON: If it's not shortly, I'm gonna have to sell me home, and the wife and myself sat
down. If that's what it's gonna cost to get him home, well, so be it.

PHILIP WILLIAMS: Adam's father Shane can handle a heavy load, but the burden of seeing his son
suffering for so long for a crime he believes he didn't commit is too much.

SHANE DALTON: Shockin', the worst. Absolutely the worst. The worst feeling that I can - the worst
feeling. It's just helpless. You can't - nothing to do. You can't do a thing.

PHILIP WILLIAMS: This is a brief moment together for Adam's father and sister, Jessica. Adam's
mother was at work, again. Both parents on extended shifts, seven days a week, to support their
boy. Not that Shane Dalton feels the Federal Government has given his son much more than
lip-service.

SHANE DALTON: People in places like they are, they're in big positions, they can get on national
radio and talk their rubbish and people think "What a good person." But down to earth, they're
doing sweet FA.

PHILIP WILLIAMS: According to the Government, it's doing everything possible to help Adam.

BRUCE BILLSON, PARLIAMENTARY SECRETARY FOR FOREIGN AFFAIRS: Our people have been in regular
contact, 44, 45 times with the families. Many, many times with his legal advisers. And even with
Adam back in Barcelona. Repeated explanations have been provided about the Spanish legal system.
It's not something that the Australian Government can control or can directly influence. So our
position has been very clear from the outset. Any request, any avenue that we can provide
assistance to Adam, we are providing. It's just that we're not in control of another country's
legal system. Just as Australians would be very offended if Spain, for instance, came and sought to
exert influence over our legal system in this country.

PHILIP WILLIAMS: Whoever's right, the fact remains Adam Dalton is still stuck in a rundown
apartment. The street in which he lives is infested with drug dealers. When he heard his
grandfather was seriously ill, he nearly cracked. His parents talked him out of doing a runner.

ADAM DALTON: They said, we've waited this long, just hang it out a bit more, just hang it out and
come home the right way, don't do it the wrong way. If you get caught, you will go straight back to
prison and you will be there for a long time.

PHILIP WILLIAMS: It already feels like a long time. The tourist delights of Barcelona seem
irrelevant. He just wants his day in court and a ticket home.

ADAM DALTON: As soon as I land, I will be kissing the ground straightaway. I'm not leaving
Australia ever again. I've realised now, I live in the greatest country in the world, the most
fair, beautiful country in the world and I'm I'm never leaving again. I'm having a little ceremony
burning my passport.

PHILIP WILLIAMS: But the wait continues. Tomorrow, always tomorrow. While life passes him by. His
birthday's coming up. His one wish: that he can share it with the family that may yet have to bet
the house on him.

ADAM DALTON: I love 'em to death and I miss 'em with all my heart. I say it to 'em 100 times a day
and I can't wait to see 'em again.