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No charges for Australian royal hoax DJs

The two Australian DJs at the centre of the Kate Middleton prank call tragedy will not face charges, it was announced yesterday. There is no evidence to support a charge of manslaughter against Mel Greig and Michael Christian over the death of nurse Jacintha Saldanha, the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) said.

Mel Greig and Michael Christian
Mel Greig and Michael Christian will not face charges of manslaughter for the suicide of nurse

The 2Day FM hosts made a hoax call to the King Edward VII’s hospital in central London, posing as the Queen and Prince of Wales when Kate was being treated for a severe morning sickness. Saldanha, who transferred them to a colleague who described Kate’s condition in detail, was found hanged just days after falling victim to the prank, sparking a backlash.


Jacintha Saldanha. File pics

The CPS announced that no charges will be brought over the hoax calls. Malcolm McHaffie, deputy head of special crime at the CPS, said there was no evidence to support a manslaughter charge and any potential prosecution would not be in the public interest.

He said, “As is well known, on December 4, 2012, Mel Greig and Michael Christian, both radio presenters in Australia, made a telephone call to the King Edward VII’s Hospital in London, where the Duchess of Cambridge was receiving treatment, in which they pretended to be members of the Royal Family. During the course of the call, private information about the Duchess’s health was given in good faith to Greig and Christian and the call was later played on a radio station in Australia.”

He added, “Subsequently, Jacintha Saldanha, a nurse at the hospital who had initially taken the call, but who had not herself passed on the information, tragically took her own life.” He said Scotland Yard provided the CPS with a file of evidence on December 19 and asked advice on whether a prosecution should be brought.

‘Harmless prank’
“Having carefully reviewed the evidence currently available, we have concluded that there is no evidence to support a charge of manslaughter and that, although there is some evidence to warrant further investigation of offences under the Data Protection Act 1998, the Malicious Communications Act 1988 and the Communications Act 2003, no further investigation is required because any potential prosecution would not be in the public interest,” he said.

McHaffie said the CPS had taken into account, among other matters, that it is not possible to extradite people from Australia on the potential offences in question. He also said it considered that ‘however misguided, the telephone call was intended as a harmless prank’. “The consequences in this case were very sad. We send our sincere condolences to Jacintha Saldanha’s family.”

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