A new courtroom might need to be built for a possible 11-person murder trial over the death of Melbourne teenager Solomone Taufeulungaki.
The 15-year-old was fatally stabbed during an alleged gang attack at Brimbank Shopping Centre in Melbourne's west on June 16.
Nine boys aged between 13 and 17 are charged with murder, as well as two men aged 20 and 23.
All 11 remain in custody. Five of the teens, who had been granted bail after earlier being charged with affray, applied for bail in Victoria's Supreme Court on Wednesday afternoon.
Justice Paul Coghlan said given their ages - two aged 13, two aged 14 and a 15-year-old - they had done well while back in the community.
He said he expected at this early stage no one would be able to estimate when a murder trial with 11 defendants might be able to happen.
"You'd need to try and probably do it in almost a non-COVID risk situation and it might well be a courtroom would need to be found or even potentially constructed," he said.
He doesn't expect any trial would happen before 2022.
"For the life of a 13-year-old to be put on hold for two years is a very significant thing," he said.
Prosecutor Mark Gibson opposed bail and flagged some concerns, pointing to an October 10 photo of some of the boys together when previous bail conditions banned them from seeing each other.
Another of the boys breached curfew to stay at his girlfriend's house.
"Young love," Justice Coghlan mused, though Mr Gibson said it showed a disregard for court orders.
One of the boys has lived with a relative while on bail. She told the court that when he moved in he still had a "street lifestyle".
"His maturity was really low, his mannerism wasn't at a standard that was appropriate and his attitude was still like he was out on the streets with his friends," she said.
But in the last four months he has begun to respect others, listen to and obey everyone he comes into contact with, and his attitude toward school has turned around.
"From his progress, they are so overwhelmed on how much commitment and how much effort he has put in," she said.
Justice Coghlan said he wasn't sure he would have given the boys bail last time, but said their situations now appeared more settled.
He will hand down his decision and full reasons next Wednesday.
Australian Associated Press