Psychiatric review seen as key to Yang Jia's case is rejected by court Convicted police killer Yang Jia has appealed against his death sentence with a higher court, alleging he had been beaten by police and claiming that as justification for a fatal assault on six officers. The Shanghai Higher People's Court held a day-long session yesterday after a lower court handed the death penalty to Yang, 28, last month for the six murders. Three other officers and a security guard were injured in the July 1 stabbing attack. The court adjourned in the evening without announcing a ruling. It rejected his lawyer's request for another psychiatric evaluation - a key part of the appeal, according to people present at the trial. Prosecutors have claimed examination by a 'specialised institution' before the original trial had proved he was responsible for his actions. Yang was detained by Shanghai police last October for riding an unlicensed bicycle, prosecutors said. Police described him as belligerent and unco-operative. He was released and later requested compensation, though claims over the amount vary. He alleged he was beaten during detention. Police have denied this and arrested a man who posted such claims on the internet. Hundreds of residents with grievances against the government used the trial yesterday to voice support for Yang and protest against injustices ranging from eviction to brutality. Some briefly showed T-shirts with his image, while others chanted 'Long live Yang Jia' and 'Yang Jia is a hero'. They were met by hundreds of police in uniform and plainclothes, who arrested dozens of protesters throughout the day. Police pushed to the ground a man who waved a banner claiming supporters had donated 200,000 yuan (HK$227,000) for Yang's defence, then took him away to the angry shouts of the crowd. The case has tapped into anger at the police and the government amid claims that Yang, a jobless Beijing native, was lashing out at an unjust system. Legal experts have also raised questions about the location of the trial, the validity of psychiatric testing that found him sane and the impartiality of his original lawyer, who had previously consulted for Zhabei district, where the attack occurred. Yang appeared in court yesterday with a new lawyer, Zhai Jian . Speaking before the trial, Mr Zhai said he planned to pursue the insanity defence more vigorously. 'I want to defend Yang by convincing the court that he is mentally abnormal,' Xinhua quoted him as saying. Yang reportedly told the court he did not regret his actions. He answered 'I don't know' to several questions and 'I don't remember' after viewing a video of some of the killings captured by security cameras, Xinmin Evening News reported. Beijing lawyer Liu Xiaoyuan , an outspoken critic of the judicial procedures for the case, said Yang claimed he was beaten by the Shanghai police and also by Shanxi police in 2006. 'He said he was beaten during the police inquiry last year,' Mr Liu said. Speaking in court, unlike his original trial, Yang testified that he was beaten first by a group of police officers and then by one or two, people present said. The attack on the police station shocked Shanghai. After preparations over several days, Yang started a fire at the gate with a homemade bomb and stabbed a security guard before forcing his way inside and stabbing nine others on different floors. Yang's estranged father and his aunt appeared at the court yesterday. His father had tried to arrange other counsel for the original trial and the appeal, but Yang rejected the offers. Yang's mother has disappeared and did not attend the first trial. If the Shanghai court upholds the death sentence in the second ruling, the Supreme People's Court must review the decision under mainland law. The court yesterday gave no indication of when it might announce its decision. Legal experts do not expect any changes to the sentence, given the severity of the crime.