A man handed a life sentence for murdering a Nelson chef during a cowardly random attack in Cairns has lost his bid for an appeal.

Jack Livingstone, 22, was found guilty of murdering Kiwi Philip Quayle in what was described by locals as the most brutal random attack to happen on the city's CBD streets.

The 27-year-old Kiwi was found dead on the footpath just hours after Livingstone was freed from jail for a previous crime.

In a conversation played in court, Livingstone discussed the murder and how it had happened just after his release on parole.

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"How's that, got out for two days, go kill someone and come back," the Cairns Post quoted him.

"Got out on parole, got my parole date, got smashed and went and rolled this [expletive] for his money, then bashed him and choked him."

Witness Samantha Sky French told the court that Livingstone punched Quayle before jumping on him and putting him into a chokehold on the ground.

She said Livingstone screamed "die!" as he crouched over him. Minutes later the Kiwi's "whole body just seemed to go limp".

A passerby tried to revive Quayle but he was later pronounced dead.

He was found just 100m away from the home he shared with his brother.

Livingstone appealed his conviction on several grounds, claiming that the damning phone call he made from jail should not have been played to the jury during the trial.

The justices who heard the appeal dismissed Livingstone's case.

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