An appeal against the sentence given to loyalist supergrass Gary Haggarty for more than 500 offences including five murders may not be able to go ahead.
His murder victims included Catholic workmen Eamon Fox, 44, a father of six, and Gary Convie, 24, a father of one, both from Maghery, who were shot dead as they had lunch together in a car in Belfast.
The Public Prosecution Service may have missed a legal deadline for lodging its challenge, according to the BBC.
The PPS announced on Monday it was appealing the six-and-a-half year term on the grounds it was unduly lenient.
However the BBC say the 60-page PPS submission may have been lodged after a 28-day deadline to appeal the tariff elapsed.
The court service closes for business at 4pm but the papers were not served until 4.25pm on Monday.
Lord Chief Justice Sir Declan Morgan is to convene a special sitting of the Court of Appeal to rule on whether the challenge can proceed.
A solicitor representing Gary Haggarty said he had challenged the legal basis of the appeal. “Upon notification that the application was apparently lodged a full 25 minutes after close of business, we queried with Court Service whether in fact a proper and fully compliant appeal had been lodged in this case,” Ciaran Shiels told the BBC.
“We have been advised the lord chief justice is to convene the Court of Criminal Appeal on 9 March to consider whether there has been proper compliance with the statutory requirements.”
The PPS has written to lawyers representing families of Haggarty’s victims.