A District Court judge was wrong to use the legal rules of evidence when he rejected the opinions of two doctors wanting to commit a mentally ill man who had behaved violently, another judge ruled yesterday. Mr Justice Michael Hartmann was handing down his findings in the judicial review of Judge Li Zong-er's refusal to sign a form on March 22 that would have detained a mental patient at the Castle Peak Hospital for an indefinite period. Concerns were raised by the Hospital Authority that Judge Li's refusal could set a dangerous precedent and hamper future efforts to hold mentally ill patients for indefinite periods. The man, known only as 'Patient O', had been staying at a hostel in March when he became violent and started biting people and throwing furniture. After observing Patient O, two psychiatrists recommended he be detained for an indefinite period for observation and treatment under Section 36 of the Mental Health Ordinance. The Section 36 form had to be signed by a District Court judge or magistrate within seven days. But Judge Li refused to 'rubber-stamp' the form, saying the psychiatrists had not seen the patient behaving violently. The man was freed. Yesterday, Mr Justice Michael Hartmann said in the Court of First Instance: 'The judge or magistrate is, of course, much more than a rubber stamp. But that does not mean that he is entitled to question the medical validity of opinions expressed if those opinions comply with the relevant section of the ordinance.' Mr Justice Hartmann said judges and magistrates were not entitled to use legal rules of admissibility in this case.