Police investigating the murder of a Co Tyrone father-of- three have identified 1,500 lines of inquiry, it has been revealed.
Prosecutors also confirmed more than 300 witness statements have been taken as part of the probe into the stabbing of |Eamonn Hughes.
The scale of the inquiry was disclosed during a High Court bail application by the man who allegedly inflicted the fatal wound.
Mr Hughes (48) was attacked as he and his family walked home from a daughter’s 18th birthday party in Dungannon last September.
Five men are alleged to have got out of a taxi on the Lisnahull Road and confronted the group before the murder victim was stabbed.
Lawyers for Martin Murray (22) sought his release on bail due to the time spent on remand without a preliminary inquiry.
Murray of Windmill Drive, Dungannon, faces charges of murder and hijacking.
During the application it was claimed that two independent witnesses have identified him as the one with the knife on the night of the killing.
Crown counsel Sheena Mahaffey also responded to defence submissions by telling the court: “Although there’s a requirement for expedition, it has to be balanced against an in-depth murder inquiry with such a number of witnesses.”
As part of her objections to bail she said police believed bad-feeling was still high in the area.
A defence lawyer said an alternative address was available for Murray and questioned why the Public Prosecution Service was taking so long to issue a direction in the case. Mr Justice Treacy said it was almost certain that no trial would be held this year.
Adjourning the application, the judge asked both the prosecution and defence to provide an explanation for why the case has taken so long.