Christopher Robinson’s lawyer told a court that five prosecution witnesses will be called and potentially cross-examined at the preliminary inquiry.
A judge listed the case for a special one-day hearing in January.
Robinson, 47, of Aspen Park in Dunmurry, is accused of murdering Mr Ismay in March 2016.
He also faces a further charge of possessing explosives with intent to endanger life.
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The 52-year-old victim suffered serious leg injuries when a booby-trap bomb exploded under a van he was driving in the east of the city.
Despite an initial recovery, he died following a return to hospital 11 days later.
Robinson is allegedly linked to the bombing by CCTV footage of a car believed to have been used to plant the device at the victim’s Hillsborough Drive home.
Forensic examination of the car revealed traces of RDX, an identifier in high explosive material, on its rear floor and seats, a previous court was told.
Robinson was said to have known Mr Ismay through working together as volunteers with St John Ambulance.
He appeared before Belfast Magistrates’ Court today to fix a date for the hearing to determine if he has a case to answer.
Robinson’s solicitor confirmed that five witnesses will be called.
The defence team are expected to challenge the strength of some prosecution evidence at that stage.
Listing the preliminary inquiry for the end of January, District Judge Nigel Broderick said: “This will be a one-day case.”
Robinson was released on continuing bail to return to court at that stage.