A VIETNAMESE who was sentenced to mandatory life in jail for murdering a fellow countryman in a closed camp had his conviction quashed on appeal yesterday. In allowing the application of Le Duc Tien and setting aside the sentence, the Court of Appeal said the trial judge had erred to direct jurors that they could find him guilty on the basis of his caution statement. However, the court, comprising Vice-President Mr Justice Power, Mr Justice Bokhary and Mr Justice Mortimer, ordered a retrial. Le, 35, had denied murdering Nguyen Van Haq, 30, in High Island Detention Centre, Sai Kung, but was found guilty by a jury before Mr Justice Jerome Chan last December. It was the Crown's case that Le and Nguyen had a row over a chess board on the evening of November 14, 1992, and it turned into a fight. It was alleged that soon after that, Le, clutching a home-made knife, was seen chasing Nguyen, and when the younger man slipped and fell, he stabbed him three times. In his statement to the police, Le, while denying he had any intention to kill, said that during the scuffle he picked up the knife, which belonged to Nguyen, and threw it away but it hit Nguyen on his back. On appeal, defence counsel Aziz Hoosen said the evidence showed that only one of the two wounds, which had penetrated Nguyen's lung and heart, was fatal. The trial judge was wrong to direct the jury that they could find it was caused by Le throwing the knife, counsel said.