A crippled beggar was freed from jail yesterday after a High Court judge said 'common humanity' cried out for his release. Mr Justice Brian Keith overturned polio victim Cheung Sun-wah's six-month prison term on appeal, saying: 'His life has been utterly wretched.' Cheung, 28, was arrested in March and charged with arson, assaulting a police officer and remaining in Hong Kong illegally. He later hit an officer with one of his crutches and set fire to three $100 notes he had earned begging. His crutches were confiscated on March 25 as evidence and he crawled into Sha Tin Court on April 8 when his case was heard. He did not get them back until May 9. Mr Justice Keith criticised as 'heavy-handed' and 'wholly inappropriate' the prosecution's decision to charge the beggar with arson for burning the bank notes. The judge rejected Cheung's claims that prison officers had stopped him taking substitute crutches to court on April 8, but conceded he had endured 'a measure of indignity'. Magistrate Tam Hop-hon gave Cheung a suspended sentence on March 25, but two weeks later changed his decision after the Attorney-General sought a harsher punishment. Cheung, who contracted polio at the age of five and was later abandoned by his parents, will now be repatriated to China.