TWO Ballymena men faced a court on Friday accused of the sectarian murder of teenager Michael McIlveen seven years ago.
Christopher Francis Kerr, 26, and 24-year-old Aaron Cavana Wallace both pleaded not guilty to murdering the schoolboy in May 2006.
Michael McIlveen, then aged 15 and known to friends as ‘Mickey Bo’, died the day after he and two friends were chased and attacked by a group of youths in an alleyway in the Co Antrim town.
He suffered fatal brain injuries during the brutal beating.
On Friday, Judge Mr Justice Reg Weir told lawyers for the prosecution and defence that the trial will begin on April 8 and is expected to last for at least four weeks.
He told Kerr’s solicitors they had been “discourteous in the extreme” by failing to attend a meeting between all parties.
“I will not tolerate it,” he added.
Kerr’s defence lawyer Sean Devine told the judge the team were “working assiduously” in preparation of the case and that he was “supremely confident” the trial would proceed as planned.
Kerr, from Moat Road, was remanded back into custody while Wallace, from Carnduff Drive, was released on continuing bail.