A High Court judge yesterday accused a magistrate of handing out an unduly harsh sentence to a schizophrenia sufferer because of the man's mental condition. Last October, Kwun Tong magistrate David Thomas sentenced Tsoi Siu-yeung, 42, to a maximum three-year jail term for possessing an offensive weapon, even though Tsoi pleaded guilty. Tsoi, who suffers from chronic schizophrenia, appealed against the sentence. Mr Justice Wally Yeung Chun-kuen said the magistrate's anxiety for public safety was behind the harsh sentence but mental illness did not justify it. He upheld the appeal and reduced the jail term to eight months. He noted the magistrate had given no credit for the guilty plea or that the case was not the worst of its kind. Mr Justice Yeung suggested Tsoi should seek help if he was still suffering from mental illness upon his release. On March 6 last year, police found Tsoi armed with a 30-centimetre knife in Tiu Keng Leng Village. He told police he planned to chop a man for beating him and taking his money and ID card.