A HELENSBURGH man who was ordered to stay out of trouble after threatening his partner – and has since been sentenced to three months in jail for a further offence against the same victim – has been allowed to keep his liberty despite a sheriff's warning that he could go to jail.

Steven McKeown had his sentence deferred for good behaviour after he shouted, swore, threatened violence and kicked a door at a property in The Fairways in Garelochhead on July 4 last year.

The 28-year-old was allowed out on bail after appearing in court nine days later – but then breached a condition of that bail order by going back to The Fairways on August 11, earning himself a community payback order (CPO) as a punishment.

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And when McKeown appeared at Dumbarton Sheriff Court for a review of that order, his solicitor revealed that since the punishment was imposed, McKeown had been handed a 96-day jail term at Dunoon Sheriff Court after being convicted of a further offence under the Communications Act in which he contacted the same victim by phone.

On being told of McKeown’s latest conviction, Sheriff John Hamilton said: “He’s had the jail before – 10 months for a domestic matter in 2013.

“Why shouldn’t he just get the jail for this? I can’t ignore that in the interim he’s had the jail for abusing the very woman he’d been abusive towards before.

“He gets his sentence deferred for good behaviour, then gets a community payback order for breaching bail at the very same property.

“What am I supposed to do? Just kick the can down the road until some time later?”

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McKeown’s solicitor told the court that the supervision and unpaid work the CPO entailed would be of greater benefit to his client, and the community, than a spell behind bars – and said that McKeown had “buckled down” to the unpaid work since being released from jail on April 11.

The sheriff replied: “He’s done a further six hours – that’s hardly ‘buckling down’.”

Sheriff Hamilton then realised that McKeown, currently of Kirkmichael Road in Helensburgh, had previously been dealt with by another Dumbarton sheriff, and decided to defer sentence further for that sheriff to hand out a punishment.

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Sheriff Hamilton told McKeown: “I don’t know what view he’ll take of this, but had it been down to me, I was going to jail you.”

And when McKeown returned to the dock seven days later, Sheriff William Gallacher gave him a further chance to comply with the order, and told him to come back to court on July 26 for a progress review.