Seven out of 12 men charged in connection with the death of of Coleraine man Kevin McDaid have had manslaughter and attempted murder charges dropped.
Mr McDaid, 49, died after he was attacked outside his Somerset Drive home in May 2009.
As the trial started on Tuesday, the court heard that the serious charges would not be proceeded with, as the men had pleaded guilty to lesser offences.
All seven men were released on bail.
Three of them pleaded guilty to charges including grievous bodily harm (GBH):
Aaron Beech, 28, of John Street, Ballymena, pleaded guilty to GBH with intent against Mr McDaid’s friend, Damien Fleming, assaulting Mr McDaid and affray
Ivan Beattie McDowell, 47, of Taggart Mews, Ballymoney, pleaded guilty to GBH with intent in relation to Mr Fleming
Frank Daly, 53, of Oakland Walk, Coleraine, admitted GBH against Damien Fleming, assaulting Mr McDaid, assaulting Evelyn McDaid and affray
Four of them pleaded guilty to affray:
David Craig Cochrane, 23, of Windyhall Park, Coleraine
Rodney Gardner, 46, of Knocklynn Grange, Coleraine
James McAfee, of Lisnablagh Road, Coleraine
Christopher McDowell, 38, of Castle Mews Walk, Castlerock
Prosecution lawyers told Belfast Crown Court the more serious charges should be left on the books.
The trial of five other men on manslaughter and murder charges has been getting under way.
Two other men had appeared in the dock to face lesser charges.
One of them, Johnathon Stirling, 25, of Windyhall Park, Coleraine, pleaded guilty to threats to harm.
A charge of making threats to kill will be left on the books, and he was released on continuing bail.
The other, John Freeman, 24, of Sunderland Road, Belfast, changed his plea to guilty on charges of intimidation of a witness and common assault