A high court scrapped on Monday a lower court ruling that had sentenced a man to death for killing five people on Awaji Island in 2015, sentencing him instead to life in prison after reviewing his mental state at the time.

The Osaka High Court reduced the sentence for Tatsuhiko Hirano, 45, deeming him to have been in a state of diminished capacity due to a delusional disorder when he attacked his neighbors on the island with a knife.

The ruling is the seventh in which professional judges in a high court have overturned a death sentence by lay judges in a lower court since Japan introduced its lay judge system, which involves regular citizens making judgments on serious criminal cases, in 2009.