A fresh legal submission by lawyers acting for a prominent republican accused of murdering two British soldiers, including one from Birmingham, in Northern Ireland has forced a judge to postpone a decision on whether he should stand trial.
Co Armagh man Colin Duffy, and his co-accused Brian Patrick Shivers from Co Londonderry, were due to hear whether they would be returned for Crown Court trial.
Duffy, 42, from Forest Glebe, Lurgan, and Shivers, 45, from Sperrin Mews, Magherafelt, are charged with shooting dead Sappers Mark Quinsey, 23, from Birmingham, and Patrick Azimkar, 21, from London, outside Massereene Army barracks in Antrim last year.
The soldiers from 38 Engineer Regiment were gunned down as they collected a pizza delivery from the front gates, hours before they were due to be deployed to Afghanistan.
The prosecution case against the two defendants is based on DNA evidence found in a partially burnt out Vauxhall Cavalier getaway car used in the attack.
But in Coleraine Magistrates' Court on Thursday, a barrister for Duffy presented an authority court - a ruling in a separate case in a higher court - that he claimed undermined this.
The Court of Appeal decision, he explained, had quashed the conviction of a defendant who had been found guilty on DNA evidence of better quality than that presented against his client.
Duffy, wearing a dark green and orange jacket and grey t-shirt, and Shivers, dressed in a black leather jacket and white shirt, sat silently in the dock as district judge George Connors heard the legal argument.
A lawyer representing Shivers, who is currently out on bail, claimed the submission "reinforced" his view that the case against his client was also weak.
Judge Connors, who was due to rule on Thursday after reviewing submissions presented in a three day preliminary investigation hearing earlier this month, acknowledged that the judgment was relevant in both men's cases.
"On reading it, it is a very significant case and is a matter the Crown have to address and I think it is proper that they have proper time to do it," he said.
Duffy's barrister had argued that a delay was not necessary and the prosecution could have made its submission in response to the four-page judgment.
His client has previously claimed to have been sexually and physically assaulted during strip searches carried out in Maghaberry prison in Co Antrim ahead of court appearances.
The lawyer alleged Duffy was subjected to similar treatment and asked for the hearing to conclude so he might avoid it again on return. But the judge accepted the prosecution's request for time to consider its response and delayed his ruling on both defendants.
Two other soldiers and two pizza delivery drivers were also injured in the shootings in March last year, which were claimed by dissident republican group the Real IRA.
As well as the murder counts, the pair face six additional charges of attempted murder and one of possession of fire arms with intent to endanger life.
Judge Connors said he would sit in Antrim Magistrates' Court next Tuesday when he said he would set a new date to conclude the committal hearing.