No charges for royal hoaxters

Last updated 05:00 02/02/2013
Jacintha Saldanha
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TRAGIC END: Nurse Jacintha Saldanha was the victim of a prank call from two Australian radio hosts.

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British prosecutors will not press charges against two Australian DJs over the royal hoax call that preceded a nurse’s suicide.

Two Australian DJs impersonated Queen Elizabeth II and her son, Prince Charles, as they phoned London’s King Edward VII hospital in December to ask about the condition of the Duchess of Cambridge, formerly Kate Middleton, who had been hospitalised for treatment of acute morning sickness stemming from her pregnancy.

Nurse Jacintha Saldanha, who put the call through to a colleague, who in turn described the details of Kate’s condition, was found dead in her room three days after the prank was broadcast across the world.

Prosecutors on Friday said there was no evidence to support a charge of manslaughter, and despite ‘‘some evidence’’ to warrant further investigation of offences under Britain’s Data Protection Act and Malicious Communications Act, any potential prosecution would not be in the public interest.

The Crown Prosecution Service said that decision was taken because it isn’t possible to extradite from Australia for those potential offences, and because ‘‘however misguided, the telephone call was intended as a harmless prank’’.

DJs Michael Christian and Mel Greig —apologised after Saldanha’s death in emotional interviews on Australian television, saying they never expected their call would be put through.

The radio show behind the call, the ‘‘Hot 30’’ programme, was taken off air following Saldanha’s death and later cancelled.

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- AP

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