When Benjamin Suttie noticed people approaching in a park south of Brisbane late at night, he allegedly told his group: "It's Woodridge, stand behind me".
Soon afterwards his throat had been cut. Three days later he was dead.
Harley David Wegener, 34, has pleaded not guilty to murder in the Brisbane Supreme Court after Mr Suttie's neck was slashed by a "scalpel-like" weapon at Woodridge in August 2018.
Mr Suttie, 37, died days after a major artery was severed in the Prince Park altercation.
The court heard his blood alcohol level was 0.268 on the night he was stabbed in an encounter between two groups.
Defence barrister Joseph Briggs said the heavily intoxicated Mr Suttie's decision to lead his group toward danger in what was a dangerous neighbourhood may have been an error of judgment.
"I mean no disrespect to the men and women of that place but it seems to be the case that there is danger in Woodridge," he told the jury.
"Mr Suttie himself effectively said the same thing."
Mr Suttie saw five people approaching in the park and told his four-strong group to get behind him and protect themselves because they were in Woodridge, the court heard.
"If he had been sober you might think that he would have said 'it's Woodridge ... let's just turn back'," Mr Briggs said.
"But instead of that ... he said let's keep going ... towards this identified, potential danger."
However, crown prosecutor Greg Cummings disagreed, saying Mr Suttie's instincts proved - tragically - to be spot on that night.
"My learned friend says maybe Ben was exercising an error of judgment when he told (his group) to get behind - well, he'd be dead within 10 minutes effectively so his judgment was pretty sound, wasn't it?" he told the jury.
The Crown alleges when Mr Suttie walked past Wegener's group he asked "how's it going guys" in a friendly tone.
A man in the other group who was allegedly Wegener replied: "You getting cheeky c***?".
Mr Suttie then allegedly said: "Nah, nothing like that mate, just trying to say hello".
Wegener then moved toward Mr Suttie, pulled an object out of his satchel and slashed at his face, cutting him under the eye, the Crown alleges.
Wegener lashed out again aiming at Mr Suttie's throat and "struck home with the second blow", severing the carotid artery before fleeing, the court heard.
Mr Suttie lost so much blood that his heart could not pump out any more from the wound and he would have required surgery within minutes to have survived, the jury was told.
Mr Briggs said Wegener did not pick a fight and that it was a chance encounter that escalated into a physical exchange.
Wegener said he had slipped after Mr Suttie started a fist fight and discovered that his 30cm knife had fallen out of his pocket.
Wegener told the court that he used a hand that was holding his knife on its side with the blade pointing away to push at Mr Suttie in a bid to ward him off and regain his feet.
He was not trying to stab and only carried what he described as a sharp fishing knife for his own safety after being knocked unconscious with a fence paling and robbed.
But Mr Cummings said Wegener's account "does not fit the facts", with medical evidence showing Mr Suttie's injuries were caused by two slashing motions.
The trial before Justice Melanie Hindman continues.