Australian radio DJs will not be prosecuted over hospital hoax call

Nurse who took call at hospital where Duchess of Cambridge was being treated for severe morning sickness later killed herself

The two Australian radio presenters who made a hoax phone call to the London hospital where the Duchess of Cambridge was being treated will not be prosecuted.

Bringing charges against Mel Greig and Michael Christian for their "prank" last December would not be in the public interest, the Crown Prosecution Service has concluded.

A family picture of Jacintha Saldanha
Jacintha Saldanha. Photograph: Public Domain

The nurse who took the call at the King Edward VII hospital later took her own life, triggering an international furore. There was no evidence, however, of manslaughter, the CPS said.

Malcolm McHaffie, deputy head of special crime at the CPS, said: "As is well known, on 4 December 2012, Mel Greig and Michael Christian, both radio presenters in Australia, made a telephone call to the King Edward VII 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 Ms Greig and Mr Christian and the call was later played on a radio station in Australia.

"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."

Duchess of Cambridge
Duchess of Cambridge. Photograph: Getty Images Photograph: Getty Images

He added: "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."

Among the issues taken into consideration, the CPS said, was the fact that it would not possible to extradite the radio presenters from Australia in respect of the potential communication offences.

"However misguided," McHaffie added, "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."


Owen Bowcott, legal affairs correspondent

The GuardianTramp

Related Content

Article image
Australian radio regulator steps in over Duchess of Cambridge prank call

Australian Communications and Media Authority to decide whether 2DayFM should have its broadcasting licence revoked

Alison Rourke in Sydney and agencies

13, Dec, 2012 @6:04 AM

Article image
Scotland Yard file on royal phone hoax passed to Australian police
Force asked to investigate whether DJs committed offence with prank call to hospital treating Duchess of Cambridge

Staff and agencies

10, Jul, 2013 @3:19 PM

Article image
Jacintha Saldanha found hanged after royal hospital prank call
Inquest hears that three notes were found with nurse who took hoax call during Duchess of Cambridge's treatment

Caroline Davies

13, Dec, 2012 @10:55 AM

Article image
Royal hoax DJ's show cancelled in wake of nurse suicide

2Day FM say DJs Michael Christian and Mel Greig remain employed at the radio station but their show has been replaced

Alison Rourke in Sydney

28, Jan, 2013 @4:51 AM

Australian hoax DJs 'shattered' over death of royal hospital nurse
Australian DJs who made prank call to Duchess of Cambridge's hospital speak out for first time since death of Jacintha Saldanha

Alison Rourke

10, Dec, 2012 @7:33 AM

Article image
Royal hoax call could be an 'offence under UK law'
Australian radio DJs' call to King Edward VII hospital could violate the Data Protection Act, says leading barrister. By Lisa O'Carroll

Lisa O'Carroll

10, Dec, 2012 @4:37 PM

Article image
Australian hoax call DJ wins Austereo's 'top jock' award

One of the DJs who made a prank phone call linked to the suicide of a British nurse, has been named 'best in the land'

Bridie Jabour

05, Jun, 2013 @12:37 AM

Article image
Royal hoax station tried to contact hospital before broadcast

Australian radio station 2Day FM phoned King Edward VII hospital to discuss pre-recorded phone call before airing it

Alison Rourke in Sydney

10, Dec, 2012 @5:52 AM

Australian hoax DJs: we weren't trying to get a scoop – video

Mel Greig and Michael Christian – the two Australian radio DJs at the centre of a prank call to the hospital where the Duchess of Cambridge was staying – give a longer interview to Australian Channel 7's Today Tonight programme

10, Dec, 2012 @12:40 PM

Royal nurse death: we are deeply saddened, says CEO of Australian prank call radio station – video

Rhys Holleran, CEO of Southern Cross Austereo media which owns 2Day FM, the radio station involved in a prank call to King Edward VII hospital, says he was 'deeply saddened' by the death of nurse Jacintha Saldanha

08, Dec, 2012 @11:26 AM