THE Attorney-General yesterday suddenly withdrew his application to detain 16 Vietnamese boat people who are needed to testify in the Sek Kong murder trial. The three-day hearing was aborted when Denis Mitchell QC, for the Crown, said proposals had been made in out-of-court negotiations, which the Vietnamese had accepted. All 16 had volunteered to return to Vietnam almost two years ago but have had to remain in closed camps waiting to give evidence for the prosecution in the High Court trial of 13 people charged with murder and arson now in its 12th month. In previous applications Mr Justice Keith heard that they were all willing to give evidence but wanted a measure of liberty. The Crown can only ask for them to be detained for 21 days at a time, and in previous applications the judge has ruled that the public interest in ensuring the trial continued, outweighed the respondents' desire to return to Vietnam. The charges arose following a fire in Sek Kong detention camp in February 1992 in which 24 people died and scores were injured. The judge asked if the parties would reveal the agreement as the case was of public interest, but both parties declined to comment.