A FRIEND of Rhys Marshall told the County Court at Ballarat the altercation that led to Marshall's death lasted just seconds.Digby Gram has pleaded not guilty to the manslaughter of Marshall after an alleged assault in Alfred Deakin Place, between Camp Street and Police Lane in May last year.Timothy Ralston told the court he spent the evening with Marshall at various locations, including the Buninyong Football Club. He said that here, he and Marshall drank up to five or six cans of beer and a can of bourbon and coke. The pair then caught a taxi to Zagames and later to the Ballarat entertainment precinct, where they saw a woman with a man who was lying on the ground in Alfred Deakin Place."She was talking to him, trying to get him up — she sounded upset." Ralston said.The man stood up as Ralston and Marshall approached. "He got really angry, really fast. We started to back away and he came out at Rhys and punched him," he said.He said there had been a scuffle before the punch and the encounter was over in three to five seconds.Defence lawyer Peter Morrisey asked Ralston if he had had 20 standard drinks throughout the night. He said he probably did."Do you think you're recollection of events was impaired by your indulgence in alcohol on this night?" Mr Morrisey asked."No, I don't," Mr Ralston said.Jessica Collins was working at the Alexandria Reception centre on the night of the alleged assault and witnessed the altercation.She said she saw three males who had hold of each other's shirts, jostling with each other. One seemed to be trying to break it up.She said one of the men threw a clean punch to the head of one of the others and he fell backwards."The gentleman who went down didn't throw any punches at all," she said.Gram's former girlfriend, with him at the time of the alleged assault, Jennifer Nolan, told the court that when she led Gram away from the scene she didn't realise Marshall had been seriously injured.