A CORONIAL finding clearing the Australian government's actions over the kidnapping and murder of backpacker David Wilson by the Khmer Rouge is a "travesty of justice", a former Australian diplomat says.
A 14-year inquest has found Australian government officials in Cambodia made the release of Mr Wilson their highest priority and they cannot be criticised for their handling of negotiations.
Alastair Gaisford, who was stationed in Cambodia at the time of Mr Wilson's kidnapping by the Khmer Rouge in July 1994, said the finding was riddled with factual errors and labelled it a "travesty of justice".
"If inquests are about getting to the truth, that's not the case in the Victorian jurisdiction," Mr Gaisford told reporters outside the Victorian Coroners Court on Wednesday.
"The findings that the coroner has made today are even shallower than the grave that David Wilson was bludgeoned into.
"This coroner took 870 weeks to whitewash DFAT and the government."
Giving evidence at the inquest in 1998, Mr Gaisford criticised the handling of the negotiations by the Australian government and claimed it had covered up crucial details surrounding Mr Wilson's death.
Mr Wilson, 29, Frenchman Jean-Michel Braquet and Englishman Mark Slater were kidnapped during an attack on a train in which they were travelling in Cambodia in July 1994.
The Khmer Rouge demanded a ransom of $US50,000 ($A48,037) in gold for each of the hostages, but the men were murdered in September after negotiations between the Cambodian and Australian governments and their captors broke down.
Handing down his findings in Melbourne on Wednesday, 14 years after the inquest began, Deputy State Coroner Iain West said the Australian government practice of not paying ransoms was "sound" and could not be criticised.
Mr West said it was necessary to be mindful of the "exceptionally difficult circumstances" confronting the Australian officials at the time.
"During the relevant period the mission staff of the Australian embassy, numbering 10 people, treated the efforts to secure the release of Mr Wilson as their highest priority," he said.
"I do not believe it is appropriate to make recommendations or comments which are critical of the handling of negotiations or the taking of measures directed toward securing the release of Mr Wilson from the Khmer Rouge forces."
Mr Gaisford called for the inquest to be reopened by "fearless" NSW deputy coroner Dorelle Pinch, who found Indonesian forces had deliberately killed five Australian journalists to cover up their invasion of East Timor.
Mr Wilson's father Peter Wilson has criticised the Australian government for its handling of his son's kidnapping but did not attend court on Wednesday.
Mr Gaisford said Mr Wilson was not at all surprised by the finding, which was "as bland as he expected".
In his finding, Mr West said he did not propose to pursue the evidence and allegations made by Mr Gaisford because he was "not satisfied as to his reliability as a witness and historian".
He said Mr Gaisford's credibility was an issue because he was an aggrieved former member of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade.
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