TWO men who were due to stand trial on charges arising from the death of Catholic community worker Kevin McDaid, have had manslaughter and attempted murder charges dropped.
Mr McDaid collapsed and died after a group of men loyalists launched a violent attack near his home in the Heights area of Cole-raine in May 2009.
John Thompson (34) from Knocknougher Road in Macosquin and 49-year old Paul Newman from Nursery Avenue in Ballymoney initially faced a string of charges, including manslaughter and attempted murder.
Yesterday they were re-arraigned at Belfast Crown Court on a number of offences and pleaded guilty to lesser charges.
They pleaded guilty as a secondary party to causing grievous bodily harm with intent to Damien Fleming on May 24 2009.
They also admitted assaulting Mr McDaid causing him actual bodily harm on the same date. The pair also pleaded guilty to affray, while Thompson admitted damaging the window of a police vehicle.
The remaining charges against the men - including manslaughter and attempted murder - were left on the books.
Mr Justice Weatherup released the pair on continuing bail.
Last week, seven other defendants pleaded guilty to lesser charges linked to events that occurred in the Heights area of Coleraine following a football match between Rangers and Celtic five years ago.
They also had the manslaughter and attempted murder charges dropped.
It means three men are still accused of Mr McDaid's manslaughter and the attempted murder of Mr Fleming.
The 49 year-old died after he was attacked outside his Somerset Drive home in Coleraine in May 2009.
The three men who now face a trial at Belfast Crown Court are John McGrath (55) from Knock Road in Ballymoney, 52-year old David Cochrane from Windyhall Park in Coleraine and 39-year old Philip Kane from Danes Hill Road in Coleraine.
The accused all deny the charges against them.
The trial is due to start later this week.
* ATTACK: Kevin McDaid who collapsed and died after being attacked by loyalists in 2009. Centre and right, John Thompson and Paul Newman who yesterday admitted assaulting Mr McDaid