'Atonio Moeaki. Photo/Facebook

‘Atonio Moeaki was on Monday sentenced to life imprisonment for the murder of a young dentist, Sione Feo Lau’i, outside a night club in Nuku’alofa in 2018.

Dr Feo Lau’i, 23, died in hospital on February 15, 2018, six days after he suffered from severe head injuries.

A seven-member-jury did unanimously agree to recommend the guilty verdict after Moeaki repeatedly struck Dr Feo Lau’i’s body with an aluminium baseball bat on February 9.

The court was told, Moeaki, 40, chased the victim down the road before brutally assaulting him following an argument outside Nauti Ruby nightclub. Moeaki was a bouncer at the bar.

Moeaki first pleaded not guilty to murder, manslaughter and wounding with intent to cause grievous bodily harm when he first appeared in court on September 2018.

As Kaniva news reported at the time, Dr. Feo Lau’i was a dentist at Vaiola dental care services after returning from the University of the South Pacific in December 2017.

The attack resembled that of the assault on a previous victim, the court was told. But that victim avoided being killed in 2016.

Moeaki was fined TP$200 and a one-year probation was imposed at the Magistrate’s Court for that offence.

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