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6 October 2011, 18:06
The detention of a 17-year-old rioting drama student in Manchester has been upheld by an appeal judge but his sentence was halved.
Joshua Penney was swept along by "mob mentality'' as he joined others in entering a Sainsbury's store which had been smashed open by looters on the night of the widespread disorder in Manchester city centre on August 9.
As staff cowered in a locked back room, the defendant joined others who helped themselves to cigarettes and alcohol.
Penney, of Hallows Avenue, Chorlton, was immediately followed into the Bridge Street store by police officers who caught him with a bottle of alcohol in his hands. He put the drink down and allowed himself to be arrested.
He pleaded guilty to burglary on his first appearance at youth court in the city and was later sentenced by magistrates to an eight-month detention and training order - of which half he would serve in a young offenders' institution.
On Thursday in an appeal at Manchester Crown Court his legal team argued that sentence was excessive and should have been dealt with by a community penalty in the form of a youth referral order in which no time would have been served in custody.
Judge Michael Henshell, sitting with two magistrates, rejected that argument but ruled the length of the detention and training order was "too long'' and halved it to four months.
Penney, who has no previous convictions, has already served six weeks in custody and now faces only two weeks more in detention. Reporting restrictions were lifted on naming Penney at the original magistrates' court hearing.
Four other defendants, one aged 15, two aged 17 and one now 18, were also scheduled to appeal against their sentences on Thursday but opted to deal with the cases next Thursday, following next week's expected judgment by the Court of Appeal on 10 other cases involving adult defendants jailed for committing crimes during August's civil disorder across the country.
Among those listed for appeal in London is that of Michael Gillespie-Doyle, 19, from Openshaw, who was the older man with Penney when he too committed burglary at the Sainsbury's store. He was sentenced at Manchester Crown Court to two years in a young offenders' institution.