A so-called loyalist supergrass is set to discover next spring if he will stand trial for a catalogue of murders and paramilitary crime.
Gary Haggarty's legal team told a court yesterday they were aiming to be ready for committal proceedings sometime in March.
Barrister Fiona Doherty also said: "It's probably going to be a much more reduced type of hearing than we thought."
Haggarty, a UVF commander-turned police informer, is facing a record 212 charges covering the period from 1991 to 2007.
The prosecution case against the 43-year-old north Belfast man runs to 12,000 pages, with his alleged offences including:
In 2010 Haggarty signed an agreement to become an assisting offender under the terms of the Serious Organised Crime and Police Act (SOCPA). Five years on, he has still not been returned for trial.
Haggarty, whose address is listed as c/o the Police Service of Northern Ireland, is believed to be living at a secret location in England.
He was not present for the latest stage in an ongoing review of the case at Belfast Magistrates Court.
District Judge Fiona Bagnall agreed to a further review of the case next month.