20/08/2011 04:44 BST | Updated 19/10/2011 06:12 BST

Convicted Rioters To Launch 'Many Successful Appeals' Lawyers Say

PRESS ASSOCIATION -- Lawyers have predicted "many other successful appeals" after a woman jailed for her role in last week's riots had her sentence reduced.

Mother-of-two Ursula Nevin, 24, walked free from prison after a senior judge ruled that her custodial sentence was "wrong in principle".

Nevin, who accepted a pair of looted shorts from her housemate, was jailed for five months by a district judge last week after she pleaded guilty to handling stolen goods.

But the Record of Manchester, Judge Andrew Gilbart QC, ordered that she should instead carry out 75 hours of unpaid work for the community.

Paul Mendelle, QC, a former chairman of the Criminal Bar Association, told the Times: "I suspect this judgment is the start of many other successful appeals.

"It is the start of a rowing back from some of the more draconian sentences."

He said sentencing in the magistrates' courts had become "over the top" in the aftermath of the riots.

Criminal barrister John Cooper, QC, agreed, telling the newspaper: "There have been some hysterical sentences in the magistrates' courts for the last week and over the next period we will see the criminal justice system realigning itself."

Mike O'Brien, QC, a former Labour Solicitor General said the Court of Appeal should rule on the extent by which the normal sentences for offences should be increased so as to "get the balance right".

Nevin was in bed at the time of the widespread disorder in Manchester city centre where her lodger, Gemma Corbett, helped herself to clothing and footwear from the Vans store and then took them back to the house they shared in Stretford, Greater Manchester.