AN INVERKEITHING domestic abuser has been warned he could be sent to prison.

Sentence on James Gallagher, 31, of Forth View, was deferred further this week so an assessment for his suitability for the Caledonian Project, a behaviour programme for men convicted of domestic abuse offences, could be made.

Appearing in the dock at Dunfermline Sheriff Court on Wednesday, he had previously admitted that between March 1 and April 8 this year at various locations in Fife, he engaged in a course of conduct which caused his ex-partner fear and alarm by phoning her repeatedly, contacting another repeatedly to find out her whereabouts and attempting to obtain her present phone number.

Sheriff Alastair Brown said Gallagher was currently on a community payback order with an unpaid work requirement.

"He has got a poor record," he said. "He has two domestic convictions recently and he has pleaded guilty to stalking and is refusing to have anything to do with the Caledonian programme. He is reluctant to be placed on a Restriction of Liberty Order. What was he expecting me to do?"

Solicitor Elaine Buist said her client had expressed reservations over a tag as it "increased his alcohol intake on the last occasion".

However, she said she had managed to persuade him to consider the Caledonian programme as she had told him of it being "a real turnaround" for some of her other clients.

"I told him how positive this has been," she said. "There has been a noted change in his attitude towards domestic offending."

Sheriff Alastair Brown told Gallagher he was "not negotiating" with him.

"If the Caledonian project can make a difference to the way you behave that will be in everybody's interests," he said. "On the basis of what your solicitor says, I will defer further for a reassessment of your suitability of the Caledonian project but be under no illusions, the offence you committed was a significant one and, as you have seen, if I can not find a constructive solution, I will send you to prison."

He deferred sentencing until February 5.