Up to nine men who seemed to have weapons followed Robert McCartney into an alleyway minutes after his friend was stabbed, the High Court has heard.
Robert McCartney was stabbed outside a Belfast bar on 30 January
The claim was made during bail applications by Terence Davison of Stanfield Place, Belfast, and James McCormick of Stechford, Birmingham.
Mr Davison faces a murder charge whilst Mr McCormick is charged with attempted murder. Both men deny the charges.
The defence applied for disclosure of a witness statement but it was opposed.
Mr McCartney, 33, was stabbed following a row in Magennis's bar on 30 January. He died the following day.
Crown lawyer Gordon Kerr, QC, told the court on Thursday the evidence about the men being followed into the alleyway was in a statement made by a man known as "E".
Opposing disclosure of the statement, Mr Kerr said it contained "descriptions which could identify witnesses" and could also "discourage other witnesses" who had not been spoken to from coming forward.
The court heard that shortly before the hearing the Crown gave defence lawyers statements made by witnesses known as "B", "C" and "D".
A defence barrister said the huge file would take some time to wade through.
He said there might have to be an application for further disclosure because some of the material had been blacked out.
Mr Justice Morgan refused to order disclosure of Witness E's statement and adjourned the applications to a date to be fixed.