Former Akai Holdings chairman James Ting was released from prison on HK$10 million bail yesterday after a court overturned his conviction on false accounting charges and ordered him to be retried. The Court of Appeal ruled that the jury in Ting's case had been misdirected by trial judge Clare-Marie Beeson. Ting was convicted on June 29 last year of two counts of false accounting related to an allegedly fictitious purchase of a 50 per cent stake in MicroMain Systems for HK$300 million. He was sentenced to six years' jail and banned from being a company director for 12 years. It was the harshest penalty handed down for a white-collar crime in almost a decade. Akai went bankrupt in 2000 owing creditors about HK$8 billion. The Court of Appeal found the conviction to be unsafe because errors in the way the prosecution had run its case had contributed to the judge's misdirection. Ting's conviction was quashed, a retrial ordered, his sentence overturned and the order banning him from being a director lifted. He was released after posting bail of HK$5 million cash and surety of an additional HK$5 million. Mr Justice of Appeal Robert Tang Ching found that the prosecution had muddled the case by confusing the victim of the false accounting with the beneficiary when submitting its closing arguments. It had also failed to provide backing for one of its assertions that the invention of the MicroMain transaction had been done with a view to prop up Akai's share price. Mr Justice Tang described as 'sheer speculation' the prosecution's case that the MicroMain purchase was made up to create an impression of intensive investment. Court of Appeal vice-president Mr Justice Woo Kwok-hing noted that Madam Justice Beeson had wrongly directed the jury to consider evidence given by bankers of Akai's owner, SemiTech Group, about what they would have done had they known about the false entry. Ting was also chairman of SemiTech. 'It is beyond imagination that [Ting] could have created the falsehood with a view that the bankers would discover the falsehood, leading them to call in the loans that had been extended to STG,' he said. Such speculation was irrelevant to establishing Ting's intentions. Not only that, but the jury was wrongly instructed to ignore the small size of the false entry - it overstated the true picture by not more than 1.6 per cent - in comparison to the asset base of the group. Mr Justice Tang said while it was true the size of the overstatement did not change the fact it was falsified, it might have had a bearing on the bankers' decision on whether or not to call in their loans.