Two former Paratroopers will appear in court in Belfast next month to be formally arraigned over the murder of Official IRA man Joe McCann nearly half a century ago.
Mr McCann was shot dead in disputed circumstances in Joy Street, close to his home in the Markets area of Belfast, on April 15, 1972.
At the city's Crown Court yesterday, Mr Justice Colton said the defendants, known only as Soldiers A and C and whose addresses have been given as Salisbury House in London, will be arraigned on March 13 on the single charge of murder.
A defence barrister for one of the ex-soldiers urged the court to consider listing the trial for January next year because of work commitments by defence counsel in the case and the fact that the charge relates to 48 years ago.
He said one of the former paratroopers was now aged in his late 70s while the other was in his late 60s, with one living in Wales and the other residing in England.
He added that the defendants also wanted to retain the same legal teams "who had taken them by the hand through case" up until now.
But the January 2021 trial date was rejected by Mr Justice Colton, who listed the trial for November 2 this year.
The senior judge agreed to continue an anonymity order in the case but said that the media would be given the opportunity to challenge it.
In January the two former soldiers failed in their bid to have their trial stopped on the grounds of "delay and fairness".