A Japanese court reversed Monday a 12-year prison sentence handed down to a 36-year-old man for stabbing a police officer and stealing his handgun in western Japan's Osaka Prefecture in 2019.

The Osaka High Court acquitted the man of attempted murder and robbery, overturning a lower court ruling in August 2021 that deemed he acted on his own judgement despite his diminished mental capacity.

Photo taken June 17, 2019, shows a police box in Suita, Osaka Prefecture, where an officer was stabbed and had his gun stolen by a man the previous day. (Kyodo)

The accused was diagnosed with schizophrenia by two psychiatrists before and after his indictment, and whether he should be held accountable for his conduct was the main focus of the trial.

In its appeal, the defense had sought an acquittal or a reduction of the man's sentence on the grounds that he was either insane or in a greater state of diminished mental capacity at the time of the crime than found by the Osaka District Court.

According to the lower court ruling, the accused stabbed Suzunosuke Kose, 30, in his chest and other parts with a kitchen knife at a police box in Suita and stole his gun early in the morning of June 16, 2019.

The man was carrying the gun and four bullets when he was caught in a mountainous area not far from the crime scene the following day. Kose, who suffered several stab wounds, fell into a coma but has since recovered and returned to work in January 2020.

Kyodo News reported the name of the accused in past stories but withheld it in this report because the high court acquitted him by reason of insanity.