A TILLICOULTRY man talked his way out of a prison sentence as he made a last-ditch plea for his liberty at Alloa Sheriff Court last week.

Robert Stevenson, 28, appeared before sheriff Simon Collins on Thursday, April 4, and admitted breaching a Community Payback Order.

He had been given unpaid work for a domestic offence of abusive behaviour towards his partner in Alloa on June 10 last year.

On that occasion, he became aggressive towards her, shouted, swore and repeatedly struck her motor vehicle.

Solicitor Robert Smith explained the breach came about due to a number of medical issues that his client had been suffering from.

Despite having ongoing health problems, he claimed Stevenson had been reluctant to disclose them to social workers due to "embarrassment", resulting in the breach being reported.

He then asked if the sheriff would consider further deferring sentencing for the preparation of reports, or extending Stevenson's unpaid work hours as a punishment.

However, sheriff Simon Collins declined to call for reports, and told Stevenson: "This order was imposed as an alternative to custody.

"Given your record and the nature of this offence, your breach of the order notwithstanding, you are placing your liberty in severe jeopardy."

Realising that a custodial sentence could be looming, Stevenson asked if he could say something.

Sheriff Collins welcomed the request, and Stevenson then said: "I was embarrassed.

"I've not left the house and then I'm back here.

"I'm not going to be like everyone else that's walked out here and then they go and stick their finger up; If I get these hours today then I will do them.

"I have recognised there's something wrong."

After hearing his statement, sheriff Collins gave Stevenson the benefit of the doubt, but warned him: "What I'll do is give you the chance and increase the hours.

"You have got to do it, and if there are medical problems why you can't then you have to contact social work in advance.

"I don't want to send you to prison, but if you do not complete a sentence that is the only option left."

Stevenson, of High Street, was then given a further 100 hours of unpaid work, to be completed within six months.